Redundancy fears continue

People in work still feel insecure, even though large areas of the country have near full employment, a report by the Economic and Social Research Council has found.

Just over 10 per cent of the 1,000 people who took part in one of the surveys featured in the report felt they might lose their job in the course of the next year.

The people most acutely aware of the implications of losing their job were single earners, and low-income, dual-earner households with children, researchers found.

Two in three of those who had been made unemployed had failed to foresee the event, said the report, which is the culmination of three years of study into how families manage risk.

The persistence of job insecurity reflects rapidly changing markets and skill needs, said Russell Martin, global HR director at financial services firm Primark.

“I still detect strong nervousness in the employee population,” he said. “In merger situations it is still quite surprising the nervousness that generates around the people concerned.

“They are concerned for their future and finding alternative work, notwithstanding the very strong job market.

“People are still fearful of redundancy and the stigma attached to it.”

The tables have not been completely turned with the tightening of the labour market, he added, even for sought-after technical staff. “To recruit IT staff is difficult but it is not impossible. We continue to recruit and we certainly have not experienced any haemorrhaging of staff.”

People may continue to stay for many years with a single employer, but they will be expected to learn new skills continually as technology and markets change more rapidly.

Another of the Economic and Social Research Council’s findings cast doubt on the viability of private unemployment insurance. “Those who endorsed private provision in principle often did not put it into practice, often because they could not afford to,” the report concluded. Mortgage protection, however, is popular.

Contacts ESRC 01793 413122; Robert.Walker@Nottingham.ac.uk 0115-951 4546

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