Employee job confidence plummets amid election

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With the general election fast approaching, research reveals that the current political situation is making people feel less confident about their careers

The current political climate is making employees feel less confident about their jobs, according to analysis from Monster and the Centre for Economics and Business Research.

When asked how the current political landscape is affecting their job confidence, a quarter (25%) of the 7,000 employees surveyed said they do not feel confident about their future career prospects.

The Monster Jobs Confidence Index currently stands at 66% for the third quarter of 2019. This is down from 74% this time last year.

Just 10% of people said the current political climate is making them feel more confident in their job.

This marks a fall by one percentage point from the previous quarter, as the government and the future of the UK has become increasingly unpredictable, researchers said.

When asked about their job confidence generally, the Index found that Conservative voters are the most confident about their jobs, with 56% saying they were confident about their job security over the next six months and only 20% saying they were unconfident.

In comparison, workers who are planning to vote Labour are the least confident about their jobs over the next six months, with 47% saying they were confident and 29% saying they were unconfident.

When specifically asked how the political landscape is affecting job confidence, 39% of Labour voters and 53% of Liberal Democrat voters think the current political situation is making them feel less confident.

Meanwhile, only 21% of Conservative voters think this. Scottish National Party and Liberal Democrat voters were found to be the least confident, with 4% and 6% respectively.

The Index also found that UK workers are struggling to feel an alignment to the main political parties. Almost half (48%) of UK workers said they feel unable to align themselves with any party.

Of the workers who don't feel represented by any political party, 57% also said they feel unconfident about their job in the next six months, compared to 45% of people who feel politically aligned to a party.

When drilling into age groups the Index found that respondents aged 35 to 44 were among the most affected, with only 4% saying the current political landscape is making them much more confident in their job. In comparison, 16% of workers aged 45 to 64 reported feeling this way.

Job confidence also differed across region. Fifty-six per cent of workers in the North East said they are confident about their employment prospects in the coming months.

This is an increase of one percentage point from the previous quarter, despite the region having the highest levels of unemployment in the UK. At the other end of the scale, only 43% of workers in the West Midlands said they were confident.

Derek Jenkins, a managing director at Monster, warned that job confidence could decline further after the election.

“While job confidence has improved slightly it is still going down year on year, and we don’t see that getting better in the current environment,” he told HR magazine.

“Both businesses and employees want certainty on how to move forward. Even if there’s clear support for one party or the other it’s still difficult to know what will happen because of the unanswered questions around Brexit. If there’s a hung parliament this could get worse."

Jenkins believes stronger shifts towards the left and right in the two main political parties have left employees feeling alienated by politics.

“It’s quite surprising that there is such a high number of people who feel ‘politically homeless’ and don’t feel represented by any of the parties.

"But we’re in a climate where the centre ground has become more marginalised, with a further shift to the left in Labour and a shift to the right in the Conservatives. I imagine there are a lot of people, if not the majority, who sit in this group," he said.

Employers can help boost job confidence among employees regardless of the general election outcome, Jenkins explained.

"The people who are the most confident in the workforce are the ones who have just left university and just started their jobs. It’s almost like we drill it out of them. It’s so important that businesses do more to create a confident workforce. It will make them more resilient, more engaged, they’ll become more inquisitive as there’ll be less of a survival instinct," he said.

"So it’s really important for businesses to communicate with employees, to be as clear as they can about the future and offer career progression. We’re not in control of the overall political landscape or the global economy, but we can control our own organisations.”

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