Australia’s surprisingly secure workers, part 6

The most recent Roy Morgan employment perceptions survey provides interesting insight into how people are thinking about the widely expected economic downturn.

On the one hand, 70% of respondents believe that unemployment will increase over the next 12 months, the highest figure since the last recession, and the 3rd highest number recorded since Roy Morgan started asking this question back in 1975.

But this is what is going to happen to other people. The proportion of respondents who think that their own job is safe is 80%, the same as twelve months ago.

The proportion who think that they could find another job quickly is down, from 72% to 63%, but last year’s figure was exceptionally high. 63% is a normal number for this decade.

These figures suggests that very few people yet think that they are personally threatened by the downturn, and most of the worry is the seemingly normal concern people have when their employer isn’t doing so well or they feel that their employer might not want them.

I call all these posts “Australia’s surprisingly secure workers”, but that’s a reference to the exaggerated claims of job insecurity frequently made in the media (and indeed in books by people who should know better). These Roy Morgan figures actually surprise me.

7 thoughts on “Australia’s surprisingly secure workers, part 6

  1. It would be good to compare the actual expected rates of job loss based on different levels of unemployment with those predicted by the survey. The figures given for those who think their own jobs are safe may be quite realistic since unemployment is likely to be concentrated in specific groups that are not in this survey whom do not have jobs and hence cannot be asked if their own jobs are secure (i.e., school leavers, other new entrants to the job market, etc.). Alternatively, IMHO, the 30% who think that unemployment won’t increase are suprisingly optimistic. I’d bet against them any day. If I’m correct on that, then it may well be that some of the job security claims are not overly exaggerated (at least for some groups) — it’s just that people are overly optimistic.

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  2. Conrad – There is some data on this in the 3rd HILDA Statistical Report, though it is not directly comparable to this survey because it is comparing perceived job security in 2001 with actual employment in 2005. Of those who perceived low job security in 2001 (0-4 on a 10 point scale) 38% of men and 28% of women had been sacked or retrenched, with about another 16% each who had temporary or seasonal jobs.
    20% of men 12% of women who had felt high job security (8-10) in 2001 were sacked or retrenched by 2005.

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  3. The thing is, for all the casual employees out there (including myself), it makes more sense for employers to simply cut back our hours rather than sack us That way, when the economy does turn up again it’ll be a lot easier to simply give us more again rather than rerecruiting.
    It helps to have more than one job. It would be nice is the government would make doing this more tax friendly though.

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  4. Andrew – I know that, but it would be nice if the lower income tax brackets were a bit higher/ rates were a bit lower at the lower end of the scale, even if it meant going without the LITO. I really don’t equate that with lower taxes since I have to wait for the end of the FY to get my income back.
    At my current income (two jobs), if the $6000 bracket had been indexed, I wouldn’t now be paying tax on one of these jobs.
    They could also make it simpler.

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