ADVO Group Interviews Joe Wiggins, Senior Community Manager, Glassdoor


Glassdoor is an online careers community that allows people to find out the inside track on what it is like to work at companies, helping them make better decisions about where they work. A recent survey by Glassdoor reveals that more than one in four (29 percent) of UK employees fear losing their job in the next six months, an increase of 8% from the previous survey. In our latest interview, we get a detailed insight into the findings of the study with Joe Wiggins, Glassdoor’s Senior Community Manager.

Tell us some more about the survey 

We ask 2,000 people across GB how they feel about work every quarter and the survey is conducted online by Harris Interactive UK. It monitors four key indicators of employee confidence: salary expectations, re-hire probability, job security and company outlook.

An increase of 8% in those fearing losing their jobs over one quarter seems like quite a significant rise, what do you think could have caused this?

The main reason that people are worrying about their jobs may well be the increasing amount of restructuring that employees are seeing together with a continuing high level of redundancies taking place. Employers may therefore want to look at ways in which restructuring can be conducted without large scale redundancies – perhaps trading off a certain amount of potential efficiency savings later on in order to provide greater effectiveness and higher productivity today.

There are some interesting trends in the study, for example why do you think London-based employees were shown to be the most concerned about losing their jobs?

London is a more fluid job market and because of the concentration of staff and companies it is inevitable that restructuring has more of a ripple effect. The hub of the financial services industry is here and this sector has obviously endured an extremely tough few years.

The 16-24 age group had the highest levels of feelings of job insecurity. Why do you think such young workers are so much more concerned about possible redundancy than any other age group in the study?

Younger workers are generally less confident because they have less experience with cycles in the jobs market. They are starting their careers in a very competitive situation with many of their peers fighting over the same positions, but older workers have seen better times so will have a longer term outlook.

What steps do you think employers can take to reduce the level of concern employees are feeling?

I suspect the general tone of the debate about the UK’s economy is leading employees to feel less secure, and employers will benefit from communicating openly about the specific circumstances of their own businesses, involving employees where there are issues and problems, and communicating confidently where there are already positive changes underway or there are signs of new opportunities for the future.

it’s a big worry that so many employees feel so uncertain about keeping their existing jobs, particularly as most also still feel uncertain about their ability to find another position if they do get laid off.

This is particularly important since if people are worrying about their jobs it’s going to make it harder for them to do their best work. Indeed it may move them into a ‘threat state’ in which peoples’ concern about their jobs can close down their ability to think clearly and behave optimally, particularly in displaying the sort of discretionary behaviours which are so critical in many jobs today, for example in providing great customer service and developing new ideas to improve work activities. This may be one reason why UK productivity is remaining so low as well.

Are there also any steps that you feel employees themselves could take to recede their levels of anxiety regarding job security?

Many key economic indicators are starting to show real signs of positivity, indeed last month it was confirmed that Britain’s economy has bounced back and is now bigger than it was before the financial crisis struck. Employees should take heart from that and remember that redundancy is normally a last resort option for most companies. While line managers are not necessarily gong to have all the answers, it is worth raising if employees have specific concerns.

Only one in ten employees believe their company’s performance will decline over the next six months, yet one in four fear losing their jobs. Do you think therefore that employees are unnecessarily overly concerned about their own job security?

There seems to be a lag between sentiment about companies and the economy and sentiment about one’s own situation. We’re seeing it in other indicators too: a recent GfK Consumer Confidence Barometer showed that people’s views of the general economic situation over the next 12 months is far more positive than their views of their personal financial situation over the same time period.

How do you predict these figures to change into the future? Do you think the slowly recovering economy will play a part in a possible change in figures?

We would expect confidence over redundancies and expectations of a pay rise to improve in the quarterly report.