February 08, 2001

Although 73 percent of working adults feel secure in their current jobs, according to the February 2001 Xylo Report: Job Security Within the U.S. Workforce, more than half of the respondents (58 percent) are taking precautions to prepare for the possibility of layoffs in the midst of concerns that a recession may hit the U.S. economy in 2001.

The February 2001 Xylo Report: Job Security Within the U.S. Workforce provides insight into how the average American worker perceives the impact of a slowing economy and explores some of the mitigating factors that shaped their opinions. Specific topics include:

-- How secure or insecure workers feel in their current position based on age and gender.

-- How workers are preparing for the possibility of layoffs.

-- How workers believe layoffs would affect them.

Majority feel secure in their current position--age and gender are significant factors.

Nearly three-fourths (73 percent) of employees surveyed feel that their job is secure in light of talk about an economic slowdown and company layoffs, with more than half (56 percent) saying they feel very secure. While the survey found that working women are only slightly more inclined than working men to feel very secure about their jobs (58 percent and 54 percent, respectively), the results illustrated clear trends based on age and gender. Thirty-one percent of employees over the age of 55 feel insecure, while only 19 percent of those under 34 years old feel insecure. Based on gender, a staggering 42 percent of men over the age of 55 were concerned over losing their jobs, compared to only 19 percent of women over age 55.

Despite stating that their jobs are secure, more than half of American workers are preparing themselves for company layoffs.

Although the majority of workers feel a sense of job security, 58 percent of respondents are taking precautions for the possibility of layoffs. Improving personal finances topped the list, with 26 percent indicating that they are saving money. Fifteen percent are taking steps to improve their position in the job market by interviewing for other positions, going back to school for a degree, increasing skills through job training courses, working harder to increase job security, updating their resume, and looking at want ads. Eight percent are altering their finances by cutting personal expenses, investing money, paying off debts or taking a second job.

Thirty-four percent of workers believe layoffs would affect them if their company chose to cut staff.

Although a majority of the respondents were optimistic with respect to their job security, 34 percent believed they would be laid off or have their pay reduced if their company made staff reductions. One-fifth (20 percent) of workers believed they would be the individuals laid off if their company chose to make cuts, while 14 percent said they would be affected by pay cuts.

"The February Xylo Report runs counter to many of the recent media stories we've seen about workers' fears of an impending recession and massive layoffs," said Xylo President and CEO Norman Behar. "By and large, American workers feel secure in their current positions, but are wary that changes in their workplace could have significant repercussions."

The Xylo Report is a national survey on work/life issues conducted monthly by Wirthlin Worldwide for Xylo, Inc. The company commissioned Wirthlin Worldwide, a leading opinion research firm, to survey 1,006 U.S. adults during the period of February 2 - 5, 2001. Sixty-five percent of the 1,006 respondents qualified for this survey by being employed (margin of error = +/- 3.9 percent, n=647).

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