'The devil you know' keeps worried workers in place

Summary:So, let's say that you're one of the lucky ones who slip out from under the economic downturn's merciless grip, and you get to keep your job. Aside from keeping your head down and by all means, not audibly cheering your good fortune, what do you do?

The comfort of the familiar trumps the fear of uncertain economic conditions, say workers.
So, let's say that you're one of the lucky ones who slip out from under the economic downturn's merciless grip, and you get to keep your job. Aside from keeping your head down and by all means, not audibly cheering your good fortune, what do you do?

While it is is of course a "gift" to "have a job at all" (as others will be sure to tell you), office life for those saved by the axe can be anything but a relief. There is a bigger work burden for each employee, who must then cover for a position or two that has been lost and morale takes a hit as the unsettled feeling about one's job security doesn't leave when the last pink slip is distributed.

There is more career conservativeness. Is this the time to job hunt, what with the job market flooded with established applicants with bad luck? Probably not, most workers rationalize, and choose to stay where they are.

If you're one of these people, a new survey finds that you're anything but alone. Nearly two-thirds of U.S. middle managers said that the economy was having a negative impact on their work environments, according to the survey released today by Accenture, a management consultancy. And despite the fact that more than half (53 percent) said that they were dissatisfied or only somewhat satisfied with their jobs, only 13 percent said they were actively looking for a new job. Nearly half (46 percent) felt that taking a new job in the current economic environment was risky.

There is good reason to be cautious, too, as it is hard to fully know the financial health of a company you may be considering jumping ship to. When layoffs come around, it is usually the newest employees who are given the boot, putting these professionals in exactly the place they were trying to avoid.

So what can be done? Accenture feels that employers whose ranks are filled with employees worried about their job security should do what they can to reassure them, and to help them cope, be it through opportunities for telecommuting, four-day work weeks or transportation subsidies. But if there is one thing for certain, it is that most employees are too unwilling to make waves right now to ask for these things themselves.

Topics: CXO, IT Employment

About

Deb Perelman is a journalist in New York City with a focus on tech and the daily grind. Previously she was a reporter for eWEEK, leading the magazine and Web site's coverage of the issue and trends that affect IT workers.

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