Recession left ‘walking wounded’ workers-study

* Job security trumps pay raises

* Most see no chance to advance in their job, but stay put

By Nick Zieminski

NEW YORK, March 16 (BestGrowthStock) – Many workers around the
world have given up hopes of advancing in their jobs, but the
bad economy is keeping them from finding new ones.

Such “walking wounded” workers are increasingly exchanging
ambition for job stability, which now even trumps pay as a
consideration, according to a biennial survey by the human
resources consultancy Towers Watson Co (TW.N: ).

People are becoming “nesters,” who prefer to stay in one
career or with one employer for their entire career.

The report highlights a disconnect between what such
“nesters” want and the growing trends that are shaping the
global workforce: an increasing emphasis on flexible staff and
short-term employment, more offshoring and part-time work.

“People are increasingly wanting things that are harder to
get,” said Max Caldwell, a leader of Towers Watson’s talent and
reward business. “They’d like to settle into one or two
companies for life. What people want is security, stability and
a long-term employment relationship, (which are) increasingly
out of reach.”

Globally, a third of workers prefer to work for one
organization their whole life, according to the study, while
another third want to work for just two or three employers.

That preference for “nesting” reflects anxiety about jobs
prospects and about factors like healthcare costs and
retirement planning, expenses that are increasingly being
shifted onto workers rather than carried by employers.

In the United States, almost twice as many workers expect
continued deterioration in the jobs picture as those who expect
improvement. A majority — 51 percent — say there are no
career advancement opportunities at their jobs, but nonetheless
81 percent are not actively looking for a new position.

Among the study’s other findings:

* 30 percent of U.S. workers plan to work past age 70.

* About half of U.S. workers feel unprepared for planning
or managing their retirement.

* 56 percent of U.S. workers expect little change in the
job market this year.

* Workers in developing economies like India and China are
far more willing to jump from job to job than their
counterparts in countries like Germany and the United States.

The study adds to recent data that indicates a high level
of uncertainty about the shape and duration of the economic
recovery. Global staffing services firm Manpower Inc
(MAN.N: )said last week its quarterly measure of hiring
intentions dipped slightly, suggesting U.S. employees are less
willing to hire in the second quarter than in the


Workers are more risk-averse because the recession has
shown them how quickly jobs can disappear, and have become
discouraged since a tentative economic recovery has not yet
produced significant jobs gains.

“This notion of a jobless recovery is a very relevant
trend, creating an environment with greater risk of
disengagement. In some organizations, you have a walking
wounded syndrome,” Caldwell said.

Employers are still focused on managing compensation costs
and they are cautious about staffing back up as demand
increases, he said.

That may leave more room for companies to hold down
compensation costs. The study, based on a survey of 20,000
workers in 22 countries, hints wage growth for the next few
years may be flat or at least less robust than in previous

For employers, the key challenges of managing through the
next year or two include motivating workers, by creating an
appealing work environment with room to advance or develop new
skills, according to the study. Employees, meanwhile, may need
to reset expectations lower.

Still, the recession’s effect on workers was not as
profound as that of the Great Depression in the 1930s, Caldwell
said. But it was the first deep downturn for an entire
generation and is likely to leave a lasting impression, likely
making people take on less risk and become less ambitious about
their careers.

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(Reporting by Nick Zieminksi, editing by Dave Zimmerman)

Recession left ‘walking wounded’ workers-study