The research, which analysed current attitudes among jobseekers across the UK, reveals an increasingly anxious labour force for whom job security now trumps all other considerations when looking for a job.
54.3% of those polled cited job security as a motivation for job hunting, just ahead of the 53.8% who cited job location and the 50.2% who identified flexible working as a driving force in their search. By contrast just 18.9%identified salary as a factor.
Table: Top reasons for searching for a new job
RankReasonProportion of jobseekers citing as a factor
Job security was most important for men, 59.6% of whom said it was a consideration versus 50% of women. Just14.7% of women said salary was a factor in their search, and money was mentioned by only a quarter (24.2%) of men.
The backdrop to this search for security is a nagging sense of uncertainty, with 58% of jobseekers saying they felt economic or social conditions could hurt their job prospects next year. Apprehension was highest among those aged 25-34, two-thirds of whom (67%) feared that finding a job in 2017 will become harder.
Two-fifths (39.3%) of respondents felt the jobs market had worsened since the Brexit referendum and a third (35.6%) felt their job prospects will decline once the UK leaves the EU.
Nevertheless, more than half (51.8%) of those polled felt optimistic about their chances of finding a good job in 2017, with three out of five (59.5%) of jobseekers aged under 25 feeling this way.
Yet a third (33.9%) of over-55s felt pessimistic about their chances of landing a good job, and a worrying 14.8% of people in this age bracket – and a tenth (10.1%) of those aged 45-54 – thought they will never get a new job.
Jobseekers in Birmingham (63.4%) and Belfast (62.1%) were the most optimistic, while just a third of those in Norwich (33.3%) were upbeat about their chances of finding a good job. The most bearish were those in Edinburgh, where 44.9% of respondents felt pessimistic about their prospects.
Mid-career jobseekers aged 35-44 had the itchiest feet, with a fifth (19.8%) of people in this bracket saying they wanted to work in a completely different sector. Meanwhile the youngest jobseekers had more immediate concerns –46.3% of respondents aged under 25 were unemployed.
Bill Richards, UK Managing Director at global job site, Indeed, comments:
“Official statistics show the UK labour market is in rude health – with a record number of people in work and unemployment at an 11-year low.
“But our research reveals that below the surface, many jobseekers are anxious about what 2017 has in store. Job security often features on employees’ wishlists, but for it to emerge as such a dominant factor shows a craving for security and safety that is the emotional response to economic and political uncertainty.
“Parallel research by Indeed in the US and continental Europe showed jobseekers there share Britons’ concerns about the impact of economic turbulence and falling employer demand on their job prospects.
“But it’s striking that in Britain fewer than 7% of those polled identified automation as a threat – compared with almost one in five in France (19%) – which is likely to be a benefit of the UK’s service-led economy.”