Spherion Survey: Overall Confidence Continues to Decline; Majority of Workers Remain Confident in Their Personal Employment Situation

  • Sixty-five Percent of Workers Express Confidence in Future of Current Employer
  • Seventy-three Percent of Workers Believe the Economy is Weakening
  • Nearly Eighty Percent of Workers are Confident in Their Personal Job Security


FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., May 2 // PRNewswire-FirstCall // -- The Spherion(R) Employee Confidence Index, a monthly gauge of overall worker confidence, declined 0.3 point to 46.2 in April, decreasing for the ninth consecutive month and reaching a new low. The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive(R) on behalf of Spherion Corporation (NYSE: SFN), reflects workers' continued pessimism about the economy and job availability. Although 73 percent of workers believe the economy is getting weaker, the majority of workers (52 percent) say they are confident in their ability to find a new job, down only one percentage point from March.

In addition, 65 percent of workers express confidence in the future of their current employer, an increase of two percentage points. Seventy-eight percent feel it is unlikely they will lose their current job, an increase of one percentage point from March.

Workers' optimism regarding job availability and their likelihood of looking for a new job remains unchanged since the previous month. Specifically, 12 percent say there are more jobs available and just over a third -- 35 percent -- say it is likely they will look for a new job in the next 12 months.

"This month's continued decline in confidence reflects the countrywide pessimism about the current state of the economy. Once again, this month's data show workers are still confident in their own employers and bullish on their own job security," said Roy Krause, president and chief executive officer of Spherion Corporation. "Over the past ten years, our studies have shown us that workers maintain high levels of personal confidence in their skills and abilities which they believe will buffer them somewhat from an economic slowdown.

"Also, while overall job growth has decreased over the past nine months, it's important to note that certain sectors continue to add jobs," Krause continued. "In the technology sector, for example, employment shot up more than 12 percent, with companies adding about 376,000 IT jobs. There are now 3.8 million IT jobs and we expect to see continued growth throughout the year."

"In fact, the unemployment rate for professionals across many industries remains relatively low at approximately two percent, meaning that employers will continue to have a difficult time finding talent for open positions. However, many employers believe they now have the upper hand in the war for talent. The reality is that talent shortages remain in nearly every sector and region and the situation will only get worse in the years to come. The most innovative employers are using this time to focus on strategic planning, talent development and becoming an employer of choice. That way, they're better able to take advantage of opportunities now, as well as being in a good position to react quickly and strategically when the economy begins to improve."

Results from the April Spherion Employment Report:

Confidence Level Lowest to Date: The Spherion Employee Confidence Index declined for the ninth consecutive month, decreasing 0.3 point to 46.2 in March. The Index, which measures workers' confidence in their personal employment situation and optimism in the macroeconomic environment, reveals that more workers are concerned about the economy and in the availability of jobs in April.


Details of the Index:

Macroeconomic Confidence:
-- Twelve percent of U.S. adult workers believe there are more jobs
available, unchanged from the previous month.
-- Seventy-three percent of workers reported that the economy is
weakening. Just five percent of workers believe the economy is getting
stronger, a drop of one percentage point from March.


Personal Confidence:
-- Sixty-five percent of U.S. adult workers feel confident in the future
of their current employer, an increase of two percentage points from
March.
-- The percentage of U.S. adult workers confident in their ability to find
a new job decreased one percentage point to 52 percent in April.


Job Security: More Workers Believe it is Unlikely they will lose Their Job
-- Seventy-eight percent of U.S. workers believe that it is unlikely that
they will lose their jobs in the next twelve months, an increase of one
percentage point from March.


Job Transition: Percentage of Workers Likely to Look for a New Job
Unchanged
-- Thirty-five percent of workers are likely to look for a new job in the
next twelve months, unchanged from last month.


About the Spherion Employment Report

As part of the Spherion(R) Emerging Workforce(R) Series of employment surveys, the monthly Spherion Employment Report provides a snapshot of the latest workforce trends across the country and is issued in conjunction with state and national labor market releases. Three key indices are measured: the Spherion Job Security Index, which captures how likely respondents think it is that they will lose their job or that their job will be eliminated in the next 12 months; the Spherion Job Transition Index, which captures how likely respondents are to look for a new job in the next 12 months and the Employee Confidence Index that measures employees' overall confidence in the economy, their employer and their ability to find other employment. The Employee Confidence Index is calculated from the results of four components that reflect these aspects of employee confidence. For each component item a 'score' is calculated by taking the difference of the percentage of positive responses and the percentage of negative responses. These four scores are then averaged to indicate an overall level of employee confidence, with each score ranking on a scale from 0 (no confidence) to 100 (complete confidence). A reading above 50 indicates a positive confidence level.

Methodology

This April 2008 Spherion Employment Tracker was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Spherion Corporation between April 7-9 and April 15-17, 2008 among a U.S. sample of 2,836 employed adults, aged 18 years and older (March 2008 n=3,726). Results were weighted as needed for age, sex, race/ethnicity, income, education and region. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments.

Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the U.S. adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to be invited to participate in the Harris Interactive online research panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About Spherion

Spherion Corporation (NYSE: SFN) is a leading recruiting and staffing company that provides integrated solutions to meet the evolving needs of companies and job candidates. As an industry pioneer for more than 60 years, Spherion has sourced, screened and placed millions of individuals in temporary, temp-to-hire and full-time jobs.

With approximately 700 locations in the United States and Canada, Spherion delivers innovative workforce solutions that improve business performance. Spherion provides its services to more than 8,000 customers, from Fortune 500 companies to a wide range of small and mid-size organizations. Employing more than 300,000 people annually through its network, Spherion is one of North America's largest employers. Spherion operates under the following brands: Spherion Staffing Services Group for administrative, clerical and light industrial workers; Technisource for technology professionals and solutions; The Mergis Group for accounting and finance and other professional positions; Todays Staffing for specialty administrative personnel; and Spherion Recruitment Process Outsourcing. To learn more, visit www.spherion.com.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is a global leader in custom market research. With a long and rich history in multimodal research that is powered by our science and technology, we assist clients in achieving business results. Harris Interactive serves clients globally through our North American, European and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

SOURCE Spherion Corporation

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