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Political turmoil fuelling future uncertainty

Derek Jenkins, General Manager UK & Ireland - Monster.co.uk

Politically homeless are least confident about future career prospects. The quarterly Monster Jobs Confidence Index by job board Monster.co.uk and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), reveals ongoing political turmoil is affecting workers’ confidence as the General Election fast approaches. When asked about how the current political landscape is affecting their job confidence, one quarter of people didn’t say they feel confident about their future career prospects.

The Monster Jobs Confidence Index currently stands at 66% for Q3 2019. This is down from 74% this time last year, but an increase of five percentage points compared to Q2 2019.

The Monster Jobs Confidence Index is a holistic way of assessing the UK labour market. It is the only index to assess how secure workers feel in the place of work, in terms of job security and earnings stability, and also how confident they feel in their ability to progress in their career. The Index combines two macroeconomic indicators (consumer and business confidence), ten labour market indicators (unemployment, job earnings security, productivity, social mobility, pay gaps and amount of apprenticeships), and four survey-based indicators (future employment confidence, career progression confidence, equality and political landscape).

Impact of the volatile political landscape

Only one in 10 people think that the current political climate is making them feel more confident in their job. This is a drop of one percentage point in the past three months as Government and the future of the UK has become increasingly unpredictable.

The Index found that respondents aged 35-44 are among the most affected by politics, with only 4% saying that the current political landscape is making them much more confident in their job. In comparison, workers aged 45-64 are most likely to say that the current political landscape makes them much less confident in their job, with 16% reporting this.

 Conservative voters are the most confident about their job security in the next six months

The Monster Jobs Confidence Index identified that Conservative voters are the most confident. Over half (56%) said they were confident about their job security over the next six months, and only 20% said they are unconfident.

In comparison, workers who are planning on voting for the Labour party are the least confident about their jobs over the next six months, with 47% saying they are confident and 29% saying they are unconfident.

When comparing how the political landscape is affecting jobs confidence with voting intentions, 39% of Labour voters and 53% of Liberal Democrat voters think that the current political situation is making them feel less confident in their jobs. Meanwhile, only 21% of Conservative voters think this. Scottish National Party and Lib Dem voters are the least confident, with 4% and 6% respectively, saying that the political landscape makes them more confident in their job. This rises to 10% for Labour and Green voters.

Half of UK workers don’t identify with a political party and are less confident than party supporters

At a time of increased political uncertainty, the Index has identified that 48% of UK workers feel politically homeless. These workers were also much more likely to say the feel unconfident about their job in the coming months. Of the workers who do not feel represented by a political party over half (57%) said they feel unconfident about their job in the next six months, compared to 45% of people who feel politically aligned to a party.

Why has Jobs Confidence increased?

The Monster Jobs Confidence Index has seen a slight increase thanks to levels of unemployment in the UK lowering. Further increases in real wage growth and job earnings security have also had a positive impact on the index. However, a decline in the annual growth of job vacancies has had a negative impact on the overall jobs confidence index figure.

Increase in confidence in the North East, despite highest levels of unemployment

Looking across the UK, 56% of workers in the North East say that they are confident about their employment prospects in the coming months. This is an increase of one percentage point, despite the region being home to the highest levels of unemployment in the UK.  At the other end of the spectrum, only 43% of workers in the West Midlands are confident.

Overall jobs confidence likely to stay low in 2020

Despite levels of confidence amongst workers and job seekers increasing over the past quarter, we expect to see a rise in the unemployment rate in the coming quarters. The longer term outlook for 2020 is therefore looking weak.

Derek Jenkins, General Manager UK & Ireland, Monster.co.uk, says, “Job confidence levels are slowly creeping up, but continued political uncertainty is hampering a true turnaround. “Many feel increasingly uncertain about their job prospects and security as we gear up to the election and the next stage of the Brexit battle. And those who feel politically homeless, almost half of workers, are the worst affected. “In the next quarter we expect to see job confidence staying at the current low level, as workers have a clearer picture of our political future – however, it could be some time until we see increases that bring us back in line with 2018.”

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