UK workers are the most pessimistic in the world about the future of their jobs with a third fearing redundancy in the coming year.
The figures are revealed in the latest edition of HR consultancy Right Management’s global career confidence index.
The bi-annual survey covers 18 countries and reveals that confidence in the UK has plunged by 9 per cent since May, meaning it has replaced Germany at the bottom of the league table.
The number of UK workers who believe it would be difficult to find alternative employment of a similar grade if they were made redundant, has risen from 71 per cent six months ago to 77 per cent now.
Only France, Germany and Italy have less optimistic workers, but apart from Korea, the UK is the only country where workers are less confident than they were in May.
Out of a perfect confidence score of 100, the UK experienced the world’s sharpest drop, falling 6.9 points to stand at just 45.3 points, significantly lower than the global average of 58.6.
Peter Coles, director at Right Management in the UK, comments: “The drop may appear unusual with the UK economy remaining strong and the recruitment market relatively buoyant.
“However, the continuing restructuring of the labour market with the growth in outsourcing, particularly in the public sectors has led to increased uncertainty for many about their future job security. In addition many people feel they don’t have the relevant experience for the new jobs being created.
“But workers should remember the UK economy is in a much stronger position than many of its global counterparts.
“Good workers are always in demand, so it’s as important as ever for employers to maintain the morale of employees, and regularly review their recruitment and retention strategies to identify and hold onto the best talent.”
The Norwegians are the most optimistic in the world, with only 4 per cent of workers believing there is a chance they could lose their job in the coming year. The country’s confidence is likely to be linked to strong growth forecasts and falling unemployment rates. Japan and Denmark ranked second and third in the index.
Korea has seen the sharpest drop in confidence on a year on a year basis, as concerns following nuclear testing bring uncertainty among workers. A fall from 67.0 to 48.6 takes Korea from being second most confident country in November 2005 to one of the least confident.
Published twice-yearly, the index asks employees whether being laid off from their job is likely over the next year and how easy or difficult it would be to find a similar position with the same pay. Their confidence rating is then calculated from both responses.