Mass cuts and economic headwinds have created a global job security crisis, with more than a third of workers now afraid of getting laid off, according to a survey of 35,000 people.
The results of human resources service provider Randstad’s annual Workmonitor report showed that some 52% of respondents are worried about the impact of economic uncertainty on their job security, and that over a third (37%) are explicitly concerned about losing their job.
Younger workers—aged between 18 and 24, and broadly classed as Gen Z—are particularly anxious, with 43% saying that they’re scared of losing their job, representing a 10 percentage point increase on last year’s number.
The survey also found that economic uncertainty was pushing individuals to explore alternate sources of income beyond their primary employment. A quarter said that they had decided to take on—or look for—a second role to help manage the cost of living crisis, with that figure rising to almost a third for Gen Z respondents.
Meanwhile, 23% said that they were planning to increase their hours at their current job, and about a fifth said that they were considering resigning to find a better job to help manage the rising cost of living.
Responses were collected in October 2022, as job cuts swept parts of the global economy, particularly in sectors like technology. Over the last few months, companies including Twitter, Amazon, Salesforce and Microsoft have all trimmed jobs, in some cases dramatically, amid fears of an economic slowdown.
Despite overarching fears of being made redundant, however, the survey also found that workers were intent on holding on to the right to work flexibly and remotely, as was afforded to many during the pandemic.
A third said that they would still prefer to be unemployed than unhappy in a job, and 42% said that they would quit their job if their employer did not take into account their request for better conditions. And 61% said that they would not accept a job if they thought it would impact their work-life balance.
Randstad CEO Sander van ‘t Noordende said that employers were now facing a challenge: “Companies must step up to expectations if they want to attract and retain their talent,” he said. “Companies should have the ultimate ambition of creating a happy, inclusive and inspiring workplace where people feel they belong, and this means listening to workers’ views and respecting their values. Ultimately the businesses which support their employees throughout the tougher economic conditions will reap the rewards in retention when times are easier.”