November 01, 2016

Threats to Job Security

A new survey by Pew Research explores the top factors that American workers feel most threatened by when it comes to job security. While the majority of Americans are confidence about the security of their jobs, 8 out of every 10 adults thinks that increased outsourcing of jobs to other countries will hurt American workers.

U.S. Exports of Services by Major Category

A majority (63 percent) of Americans believe that jobs are less secure than they were 20-30 years ago, and about half anticipate that jobs will become less secure in the future. Other threats, aside from outsourcing, that they believe threaten job security include increasing sales of foreign-made products, use of contract workers, and the decline of union membership. Meanwhile, the majority believes that product exports and work-enhancing technology such as internet and email are an aid to workers.

Threats to American Job Security

Source: Pew Research Center

The Impact of Education

Educational attainment is a clear and consistent indicator of sentiment towards job security. While 39 percent of those without a high school education think it is very or fairly likely that they may be laid off in the next 12 months, only 7 percent of those with bachelor’s degree or more say the same. Those with lower levels of education also are more likely to feel their current skills are insufficient for career advancement.

However, 72 percent of Americans believe that the responsibility for preparing and succeeding in today’s workforce starts with individuals themselves by making sure they have the right skills and education. And 60 percent believe that public K-12 schools should also bear some responsibility for this.

While many college graduates say that their experience has had a positive impact, only 16 percent of Americans think that a four-year degree prepares students very well for a well-paying job in today’s economy. Also, there is no consensus on the main purpose of college with 35 percent of adults saying that it should help individuals grow personally and intellectually and 50 percent saying it should be to teach job-related skills.