Only 25% of American Workers Saving for Unemployment

Sept. 3, 2008
Despite concerns about economic uncertainty and recent increases in the national unemployment rate, only 25 percent of workers currently are saving for potential unemployment, according to Adecco USA’s latest Workplace Insights survey.

Despite concerns about economic uncertainty and recent increases in the national unemployment rate, only 25 percent of workers currently are saving for potential unemployment, according to Adecco USA’s latest Workplace Insights survey.

“It's clear that our current economic uncertainty presents real worries to American workers,” said Bernadette Kenny, chief career officer for Adecco USA. “Workers need to think about how they can best prepare and position themselves for success in the current marketplace and employers who are focused on retaining their top talent should implement ways to show their appreciation and ease the concerns weighing on the minds of their staff.”

The survey revealed that 81 percent of American workers are currently worried about something when it comes to their jobs, with high gas prices, stagnant paychecks and work-life balance topping the list. Regardless of these worries, only one-quarter of workers are saving for potential unemployment, and the majority of respondents (58 percent) have no intention to start putting money aside for potential job loss.

Although most American workers aren't currently saving or planning to save for unemployment, the number varies depending on age and location. For example, Gen X workers (21%) are more likely than Baby Boomers (14%) to say they are planning to start saving for possible unemployment. In addition, workers in the South are more likely to save than those in the Northeast (47 percent vs. 36 percent, respectively).

Adecco recommends the following ways for workers to minimize job-related worries:

  • Continuously save: Regardless of the economic environment, it's always a smart strategy to put some money aside should your employment status change or you need emergency funds. This will allow you to be prepared and less panicked if you need these additional resources. A general guideline is to try enough money to cover 3 to 6 months of expenses.
  • Exceed expectations: The best companies make retaining and recruiting top talent as a top priority. If you continue to deliver strong results and exceed expectations, your chances of job security and on-the-job rewards will be greater.
  • Be flexible: Just as your worries and concerns have shifted, so have your employer’s. Be mindful of these organizational shifts in strategy or priorities and be flexible to aligning your work goals with the company’s.

For employers, Adecco recommends the following ways to minimize worker worries and increase feelings of appreciation among staff:

  • Be open and honest: Feelings of uneasiness are largely due to workers not feeling informed or appraised of what's happening to respond to the current business environment. Employers should communicate frequently and be as transparent as possible to calm these concerns.
  • Listen, listen, listen: Don't assume to know what's really worrying your workforce. Be active in gaining the feedback of your staff, whether it be through issuing a survey, town hall discussion or one-on-one conversations. Hear them out and develop your plans based on their feedback.
  • Institute quick wins: Are gas prices the top issue? Think about offering the ability to work from home or providing top performers with the occasional gas card to show your appreciation. Is work-life balance the biggest concern? Provide more flextime and formalize your offerings.
About the Author

Laura Walter

Laura Walter was formerly senior editor of EHS Today. She is a subject matter expert in EHS compliance and government issues and has covered a variety of topics relating to occupational safety and health. Her writing has earned awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE), the Trade Association Business Publications International (TABPI) and APEX Awards for Publication Excellence. Her debut novel, Body of Stars (Dutton) was published in 2021.

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