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Employee Confidence in Pay Raises, Job Market and Company Outlook Rises in Fourth Quarter 2011

Unemployed Job Seekers Growing More Optimistic About Job Market (January 05, 2012)

SAUSALITO, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 01/05/12 -- Coming off the heels of November's decline in unemployment to 8.6 percent, employee(1) optimism related to the job market, company outlook and pay raises increased in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to the Glassdoor® quarterly Employment Confidence Survey(2) of 2,572 U.S. adults aged 18+ conducted online on its behalf by Harris Interactive®.

While the number of people seeking unemployment benefits edged up slightly last week, economists are pointing to the four-week average as a more accurate economic indicator, and it dropped to a three and a half year low(i). The Employment Confidence Survey found unemployed job seekers are more optimistic about their ability to find a job in the next six months than in recent quarters. In fact, pessimism among the unemployed fell to a new low in the fourth quarter, with just 21 percent of unemployed job seekers reporting they think it is "unlikely" they will find a job in six months, down 11 points from the third quarter of 2011 (32 percent) to the lowest level since Glassdoor initiated the survey in 2008.

"The uptick in overall employee optimism is no surprise as employees are seeing fewer cutbacks at work and the unemployment rate recently declined to its lowest level in two and a half years," said Rusty Rueff, Glassdoor career and workplace expert, who ran global HR departments at Electronic Arts and PepsiCo before co-authoring Talent Force: A New Manifesto for the Human Side of Business. "Employee confidence is an important leading indicator to consumer confidence as how an employee feels about their job security, pay and the job market directly impacts their spending propensity. And while it's good news that employee and unemployed job seeker pessimism has declined, it begs the question: have we turned the corner completely or are we simply at a high point on the roller coaster ride? Until we see several steady quarters of employee optimism, it's a toss-up as to whether we're out of the woods just yet."

The quarterly Glassdoor Employment Confidence Survey highlights four key indicators of employee confidence in the areas of job market/re-hire probability, company outlook, pay raises and job security. Highlights from the fourth quarter 2011 survey are summarized below:

Job Market: Pessimism Among Employees and Unemployed Job Seekers Falls to Lowest Recorded Levels

  • Optimism about the job market increased during the fourth quarter as 41 percent of employees (including self-employed) believe it is "likely" they would be able to find a job matched to their experience and compensation levels in the next six months if they lost their job, up three points from the third quarter 2011 (38 percent).

  • Pessimism about the job market has dropped to the lowest recorded levels since 2008 among those currently employed and those unemployed but looking for work.
    • The number of employees who believe it is "unlikely" they could find a job within six months fell nine points from Q3 2011 (33 percent) to 24 percent in Q4.
    • The number of unemployed job seekers who believe it is "unlikely" they could find a job fell 11 points from Q3 2011 (32 percent) to 21 percent in Q4.

Company Outlook: Optimism Up Seven Points From Third Quarter; Men More Optimistic

  • Employee optimism over future company outlook has increased seven points since the third quarter. Forty percent of those employed full-time/part-time or self employed expect their company's outlook to improve in the next six months, up seven points from the third quarter (33 percent). In Q4 2011, 10 percent expect their company's outlook to get worse, and 50 percent expect it will remain the same.

  • Consistent with previous surveys, more full-time/part-time employed or self employed men indicated that they are more optimistic about their company outlook than women, as 41 percent of men expect their company's outlook to improve in the next six months compared to 38 percent of women. However, the gender gap has narrowed from the third quarter, when men (38 percent) were significantly more likely to indicate they expected their company outlook to improve than women (28 percent).

Pay Raises: Men More Optimistic About Pay Raises Than Women

  • Employee optimism about pay raises rose slightly in the fourth quarter from third quarter, although more employees do not expect a pay raise in the next 12 months than those who do. More than one-third (38 percent) of employees expect a pay raise in the next 12 months, up two points from the previous quarter (36 percent). Forty-one percent say they do not expect a pay raise, which is down five points from the third quarter (46 percent). Slightly more than one in five employees (21 percent) say they don't know if they'll receive a raise within the next year (up three points from the third quarter -- 18 percent).

  • Pay raise optimism was also significantly higher among men (42 percent) than women (33 percent) in Q4, consistent with Q3 figures when 40 percent of men and 32 percent of women expected an increase.

Job Security: Personal Layoff Concerns Remain Flat While Concerns for Coworkers Drop to Lowest Level

  • Employee concerns that they could be laid off remained relatively flat at 17 percent compared to 16 percent in Q3, however, concern that co-workers could be laid off dropped to 28 percent, the lowest level since this survey began in 2008.

  • Layoff concerns remain highest among 35-44 year olds (24 percent), compared to those aged 18-34 (13 percent), 45-54 (15 percent) and 55+ (17 percent).

For more details and methodology of the survey, please see the full Q4 2011 Glassdoor Confidence Survey Summary and Methodology,

NOTE TO WRITERS/PRODUCERS: Graphics and a full quarter-by-quarter supplement of the survey, including an overview and highlights, are available. Please contact pr [at] for more information.


1) For the purposes of this study "employees" were defined as U.S. adults 18+ employed full time and/or part time unless otherwise indicated.
2) This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Glassdoor from December 20-22, 2011 among 2,572 adults ages 18 and older of whom 1,453 are employed full time, part time and/or are self employed, 1,319 are employed full time and/or part time and 203 are unemployed but looking. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For a full methodology including weighting variables please contact pr [at]

About Glassdoor
Glassdoor is a free and anonymous jobs and career community offering an inside look at companies and access to millions of job listings. Glassdoor helps employees, job seekers, employers and recruiters find and share detailed information on more than 150,000 companies, such as Facebook, Google, Chevron, J.Crew, NIKE and PricewaterhouseCoopers. This proprietary user-generated content includes salary data, company reviews, interview questions and reviews, office photos and CEO approval ratings. Glassdoor was founded in 2007 and launched its website in 2008. Headquartered in Sausalito, Calif. Glassdoor has raised $22.2 million from its founders, Benchmark Capital, Sutter Hill Ventures and Battery Ventures. More information about Glassdoor can be found on its blog, and by following the company on Twitter, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn. is a registered trademark and JobScope is a trademark of Glassdoor, Inc.

About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American and European offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us -- and our clients -- stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit

(i) U.S. Department of Labor, "Unemployment Weekly Claims Report" December 29, 2011; Associated Press, "Unemployment claims rise after steady declines" December 29, 2011

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