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UK Workers Pessimistic About Future Job Prospects

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Despite record levels of employment, workers in the United Kingdom are pessimistic about their future career outlook.

This is according to research by the Institute for the Future of Work and Opinium, which found that 60% of the 3,000 workers it surveyed think it would be difficult to find a new job if they lost their current job. Furthermore, 32% believe they would have to take a less senior job if they became unemployed.

The study found that worker optimism has fallen, with a fifth of workers becoming more pessimistic about their career prospects than last year (22%). The research also shows that only a quarter (26%) of workers trust the government to provide assistance if they find themselves unemployed.

“These findings show that British workers, especially those living outside London, are rightly anxious about job change and prospects through the double disruption of Brexit and the 4IR,” said Anna Thomas, co-founder and director of The Institute for the Future of Work. “Confidence in support for worker transition — Britain's next big challenge — is low. We need to broaden the conversation about good work and how we get there.”

This pessimism is starker outside of London; while 52% of London workers say they would struggle to find a new job if made redundant, this is significantly higher at 61% for workers outside of London. This is likely related to the amount of job choices available in the capital, with 51% of London workers believing they would have a lot of job options to choose from, compared to only 38% of non-London workers.

The findings also show confidence in the welfare state is low. While national government was rated highest for who should be primarily responsible to provide support in the event of someone’s unemployment, only 26% of people said that they expected government to actually offer support. Nearly 80% of people said they’d expect their family to help them, while 68% said they’d look to friends and 32% to their religious community.

GLOBAL

Global Survey Highlights Retirement Concerns 
From the United States to Australia, workers across the globe are concerned about running out of money in retirement.

This is according to research from Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies (TCRS), Aegon Center for Longevity and Retirement (ACLR) and Instituto de Longevidade Mongeral Aegon. Of the 16,000 workers in 15 countries surveyed, 40% said running out of money is a concern. The figure is larger in the U.S. (49%).

Another top concern for respondents was physical health, which was cited by 50% globally and 44% in the U.S.

“The future of retirement is in our hands. Increases in longevity bring a precious gift of extra time. On a societal level, we must re-envision our working years relative to time in retirement. We must also protect our health to fully enjoy this extra time,” said Catherine Collinson, CEO and president of nonprofit Transamerica Institute and TCRS, and executive director of ACLR. “A new social contract for retirement is necessary as Social Security and traditional pension plans face funding issues, in part due to increases in longevity, and individuals face the need to self-fund a greater portion of their retirement income, often without adequate support to do so.”

Only 29% of workers globally are very/extremely confident that they will be able to retire comfortably. In the U.S., that number rises slightly to 36%. Meanwhile, just 23% of people globally are very/extremely confident that their health care will be affordable in retirement — 31% in the U.S. Two in five people globally (41%) feel stressed about their long-term financial plans for retirement at least once per month. That number jumps to 51% for U.S.-based respondents.

The TCRS identified five fundamentals for retirement readiness:

  1. Start saving early and save habitually: The best route to retirement readiness is starting to save as early as possible and becoming a “habitual saver” who always saves for retirement. Only 39% of workers globally said they are habitual savers, compared to 53% of U.S.-based workers.
  2. Develop a written retirement strategy: Only 16% of workers globally have a written plan for retirement, 28% in the U.S. Fewer than half of workers — both globally and in the U.S. alone — are currently factoring future health-care expenses into their retirement savings needs (48%).
  3. Create a backup plan for unforeseen events which can have a catastrophic impact on household finances: Globally, 35% of workers have a backup plan to provide an income in the event they are unable to work before they reach their planned retirement age, compared to 41% of those in the U.S.
  4. Adopt a healthy lifestyle: Living healthy can help mitigate decline in older age and associated health-care costs. When asked which healthy behaviors apply to them, people most often cite avoiding harmful behaviors (60% global, 62% U.S.), eating healthy (60% global, 57% U.S.) and exercising regularly (53% global, 55% U.S.).
  5. Embrace lifelong learning: People must commit themselves to continuing education to keep their job skills up to date and relevant and to learn how to make informed choices in their retirement planning. Financial literacy is a compelling example of where improvement is needed.

Many individuals are counting on retirement income from Social Security, employer benefits and personal savings. The vast majority recognize that government retirement benefit programs are under strain. Globally, only 6% of people believe that the Social Security-like provision in their country will remain perfectly affordable and that the government should not take any action. That compares to 8% of people in the U.S.

Employers play an invaluable role in helping their employees prepare for retirement. Looking beyond the traditional role of providing workplace retirement benefits and health, disability, and life insurance, employers can expand their current offering to include workplace wellness programs. Employers can also promote lifelong learning through training, development and career-pathing programs.

Employees Lack Necessary Tech Skills for Their Job 
Employees in the United States and United Kingdom are experiencing shortcomings when it comes to technology use in the workplace.

This is according to the “2019 Tech Skills Report” released by Docebo, a global artificial intelligence learning platform, which found this to be the case for roughly 80% of the 2,000 U.S. and UK workers surveyed.

Despite relying on technology at the office, employees in both countries still lack confidence in their technical abilities. One in four working Americans (28%) and two in five working Brits (41%) don’t believe they have the technical skills necessary to perform in their current jobs. This feeling of under-qualification and uncertainty is a direct cause of inadequate on-the-job training. Survey findings show one in four (23%) UK employees and nearly one in five (19%) U.S. employees don’t receive any tech training.

Meanwhile, for those that are receiving tech training, it’s not necessarily effective. In fact, nearly half (46%) of the U.S. workforce and two in five (39%) of the UK workforce regret not receiving more tech training. The desire to learn more exists in both countries, with almost all employees in both the U.S. and the UK (91%) saying they would be interested in learning new skillsets if their employers offered the opportunity to do so. 

“Employees are the key asset of an organization. Growing your people needs to be a top priority and this involves both upskilling and reskilling,” said Claudio Erba, CEO of Docebo. “Organizations need to invest in their people through investments in training tools capable of delivering personalized, accessible content in the midst of rapid change. This ensures employees have the necessary skills and access to knowledge to excel in the digital world, close skills gaps, and embrace new technology.”

Additional report findings show:

  • Baby Boomers are falling behind. Baby Boomers don’t have the necessary tech skills for today’s workplace, with two in five (40%) UK Boomers and one in four (28%) U.S. Boomers saying they don’t have the skills needed to win a new job. When comparing themselves to their younger co-workers, nearly half of Baby Boomers in both the U.S. (47%) and the UK (49%) said they don’t feel as tech-savvy.
  • Insufficient training is killing career progression. Modern workers are feeling the pressure to skill up, with one in three working Americans (32%) and working Brits (33%) saying they feel pressure to learn new tech-related skills to protect their jobs. Nearly half (49%) of workers in both countries believe training in using new technology would help them increase their chances of a promotion or raise. However, one in four working Americans (21%) and Brits (22%) don’t feel they have the necessary tech skill sets to position themselves as an experienced candidate for a new role.
  • U.S. women lack in tech confidence. Just half of U.S. women (51%) feel that they’re tech savvy, compared to three in five UK women (60%). This insecurity is due largely to a lack of training. In fact, one in four U.S. women (21%) do not receive training from their employer, and for those that do, one in four (25%) say they need more training to use the technology. 

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