Despite an improvement in statewide hiring trends, data released in the 4th Annual Washington State Workplace Confidence Survey indicates that Washingtonians remain concerned over how secure their jobs are.
According to the survey 33% of Washington workers are concerned about losing their job, a slight increase on last year's 30% response to the same question. 60% of respondents claimed to be suffering from work-related stress to at least some degree, with the primary cause being cited as pay (25%) with lack of job security being next (19%).
Income and age were both determined to be correlated with workplace stress, with younger employees and those with household incomes under $60,000 more likely to be stressed than their older or wealthier colleagues.
Of particular interest to the education world is that 42% of respondents said that they were considering a return to school either to enhance their current career or to train for a new career. A similar percentage said that they would switch careers if no barriers existed.
"An improving economic landscape and lower unemployment numbers have not yet eased anxiety in the workplace," said John Swartz, regional director of career services for Everest College. "In spite of the moderate improvements on the hiring front, job security remains top-of-mind for many people. At Everest, we are seeing students of all ages enroll in our schools in order to receive training to enhance their existing skills or begin a career in a field that is in-demand and provides job security."
While the number of unemployed seeking work in Washington State was measured at 365,000 in February 2010, this figure has fallen to 289,000 this year and remains flat at 8.3%.
Swartz' comments echo the growing sentiment that with competition for jobs so high it is vital that students in education currently are taught job skills to jumpstart their career development and realistic education options exist for older adults failed by their own education and now trapped in a dead end job, or seeking one, that could do so much more to help revitalize the economy.
High quality education leads to economic growth. This is why the Walton Foundation, amongst many others, is investing many millions of dollars in reforming and improving the US education system. George P. Shultz recently warned that the opposite was true; education failure leads inevitably to economic failure.
"After a rough few years, we've seen a slight improvement in the overall job market," Swartz said. "This survey shows the importance of never taking your career for granted. It is critical to continually evaluate your circumstances; be prepared to adapt your career to a changing economy; and enhance your skill set.
The survey was conducted by Harris/Decima on behalf of Everest College. Harris/Decima is an established and trusted name in market research with a 25 year track record. Everest College is part of Corinthian Colleges, Inc and is one of the largest post-secondary education companies in North America.