UK workers fearful of job loss
by Andrew Farmer in Consumer, HEAT, Life and YouGov Reports
Tue February 5, 2013 1:57 p.m. GMT
1 in 5 UK workers are fearful of losing their jobs in 2013
One in five British workers are concerned they will lose their jobs in the coming year, according to YouGov’s UK Household Economic Activity Tracker (HEAT).
The research shows that 19% of employees believe redundancy is ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ likely. High earners also view unemployment as a realistic prospect in 2013 as over one in six (17%) of those earning above £50,000 a year think it is likely they will be made redundant over the next twelve months.
YouGov’s research comes as concerns about unemployment are on the minds of British households when looking at their economic prospects for the coming year. Three in ten (30%) UK workers have seen colleagues laid off in the last year and one in five (20%) rank unemployment as a ‘major threat’ to the British economy over the next twelve months.
Stephen Harmston, Head of Syndicated Products at YouGov, said: “It looks as though the downbeat economic news of the past few months will set the pattern for consumer confidence throughout 2013. That a fifth of people are worried about losing their jobs in the next year shows how fragile the economic situation is. The fear of redundancy depresses consumers’ desire to spend on non-essential items which in turn makes it more likely that people will lose their jobs. It is especially concerning that a large number of high earners are worried about being let go as when this group battens down the hatches it has a significant impact on the economy.”
Challenging conditions prevail
The HEAT research shows that UK households began 2013 downcast with the HEAT index remaining at 94.5 in January, unchanged from December. The reading below 100 suggests that the situation for UK households remains challenging. This is highlighted by the fact that more than four in ten (42%) respondents think they will be in a more difficult financial situation at the end of 2013 than at the beginning.
January blues trump January sales
Although January saw an improvement in the number of households thinking it was a good time to make major purchases (increasing to an index score of 76.9 from 69.2 in December), this disguised an underlying deterioration in household finances. A third (33%) of respondents said they had less cash available for spending this month, while almost one in three (29%) reported declining heath of their household finances more generally.
Dominic White, Chief European Economist at ASR, said: “When 30% of people see colleagues made redundant, they naturally worry about their own jobs. Given the recent casualties on the high street, households view their situation even more grimly. These fears are having a negative impact on consumer behaviour as households feel they need to increase their savings buffer in case of redundancy.”