U.S. employee confidence up in third quarter: survey

NEW YORK Thu Oct 1, 2009 9:21am EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. employee confidence edged up in the third quarter, with many workers saying the worst of the recession is over, but that optimism came with hopes for raises and advancement when the dust clears, a survey released on Thursday showed.

If the economy reaches pre-recession levels, 57 percent of U.S. workers polled said they would expect a raise, bonus or promotion, according to the quarterly survey conducted for Glassdoor.com, an online site providing company information to employees, job seekers and employers.

The findings were based on responses from 2,257 U.S. adults nationwide, of whom 1,195 were employed full- or part-time, and 166 were self-employed. The survey was conducted by research firm Harris Interactive.

The survey aimed to assess employee confidence in terms of hiring, outlook, compensation and job security.

Nine out of 10 of those questioned forecast that their company's outlook will stay the same or improve in the next six months, with 44 percent predicting improvement. The previous quarter, only 39 percent predicted improvement, and only 35 percent in the first quarter predicted improvement.

"Employees now reveal they're expecting payback in the form of raises, bonuses, promotions and perks once the economy recovers," Rusty Rueff, Glassdoor.com career and workplace expert, said in a statement.

"Combine these high expectations with the one in five employees who expects to change jobs when the music really starts on the economy, and employers will have new challenges," he said.

Companies will need to "bridge the gap between employee expectations and the post-recession realities," he said.

Twenty-two percent of respondents expressed concern that they could be laid off in the next six months, compared to 24 percent in the second quarter and 26 percent in the first quarter, the survey found.

Layoff concern among men was much higher, at 26 percent, than among women, at 17 percent. Job losses in the U.S. recession have been particularly heavy among men, who dominated hard-hit industries such as construction and manufacturing.

Twenty-three percent said their companies initiated furloughs, unpaid leave or mandatory vacations during the most recent quarter, up from 18 percent in the prior quarter.

Looking ahead, one in three said they expect a pay raise or cost of living increase in the next 12 months, while of those eligible for a bonus, three in five said they expect one.

If they were to lose their job, 44 percent of those taking part in the survey said they believe they could find a new job matching their experience and compensation level in the next six months, up from 39 percent each in the prior two quarters.

(Editing by Will Dunham)