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US minorities, young & low earners have lowest employment optimism

The survey, titled The Employee Well Being Study, measured perceived U.S. employment security during the third and fourth quarters of 2014.

For the first time, HRO Today, a publication focused on human resources leadership and operations, and experts at Yoh established the four components that make up employee well being - involuntary job loss possibility, likelihood of promotion, anticipation of a raise, and trust in company leadership. Using these factors, the Employee Well Being Index measured employee well being from the third quarter of 2014 to the fourth quarter and found that overall well being increased from 99.2 to 100.8. However, while the likelihood of promotion, anticipation of a raise, and trust in company leadership all grew during the timeframe, employees' confidence in job security fell dramatically, from 103.7 to 96.3.

"Since the perception of job security greatly impacts purchasing behavior and according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, more than 70% of what the U.S. produces is for personal consumption, there is a need for businesses to focus on individuals' overall perceptions of their jobs," said Elliot Clark, CEO of HRO Today Magazine. "We believe defining and measuring employee well being through this study will serve as a leading economic indicator for measures like consumer confidence and spending."

Specifically among men surveyed, those who felt it was likely they would involuntarily lose their job in the next 12 months grew from 9.8% of respondents in the third quarter to 15.5% in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, women's perception of job loss grew from 8.9% to only 9.8%. Additionally, this perceived job loss risk also grew among whites-only (from 6.5% in the third quarter to 8.8% in the fourth quarter), African Americans-only (11.6% to 15.9%), and Hispanics-only (15.0% to 23.6%).

"We believe the findings of this study establish a new mandate for trust between enterprises and employees," said Andy Roane, Vice President of Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) for Yoh. "It becomes clear that finding talent is no longer just about hiring quality workers, but making them feel valued as employees through mutual trust and positive company culture. This begins with the hiring process and applies no matter how long they work for a company, or under what circumstances. Many factors such as competition for highly-skilled talent, shifts toward contract and contingent workers and perceptions of employment brand among different generations in the workforce, mean companies must give their hiring and engagement practices increased attention right now."

The Bureau of Labor Statistics supports the study's job security findings, as well, as women outgained men in job growth percentage by a ratio of nearly 2:1 in the fourth quarter vs. the third quarter. Those historically most impacted by seasonal hiring in the fourth quarter - such as younger workers, those over 65, blacks, Hispanics and those with lower education levels - also had the highest percentage gains in employment. However, their views of job security were lower - younger workers ages 18-24 (16.8% to 20.7%) workers over 65 (1.8% to 3.6%), blacks (11.6% to 15.9%), Hispanics (15.0% to 23.6%), and those with lower education levels (8.9% to 13.4%) - likely because of the nature of seasonal hiring.

Interestingly, while the perceived likelihood of job loss grew among all demographics, the perceived likelihood of a job promotion also grew among each demographic surveyed. Overall, the likelihood of a promotion jumped from 17.8% in the third quarter to 19.6% in the fourth quarter, with men (20.7% to 24.9%), women (14.9% to 16.7%), whites-only (12.4% to 13.7%), African Americans-only (28.8% to 31.1%), and Hispanics-only (29.9% to 36.0%) each growing individually.


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