Survey Shows Many Workers Fear the Worst

I came across an interesting survey in the December/January issue of Conde Nast Portfolio magazine, a new entry among business publications that I highly recommend, that I wanted to share with readers of Under Surveillance. The data reflects how businesspeople are feeling about the recession and increased pressures and stress in the workplace.

When asked if they feared losing their job, more than three-fourths (76 percent) of the survey’s respondents said there was a “small” to “good” chance of becoming unemployed. Should that take place, nearly as many (73 percent) believe finding a new position would be “somewhat” to “very” difficult. Regardless of where they work, about the same percentage of those polled (71 percent) anticipates receiving less compensation in the future. Meanwhile, most people are feeling more pressure on the job (79 percent), are working harder and longer hours (70 percent), having to reduce expenses (60 percent) and receiving less personal fulfillment from work (50 percent).

Wow, not a pretty picture is it? Yet it is likely somewhat comforting to know that if you have been experiencing similar realities and thoughts that you are not alone. Fortunately, from an industry perspective, many of you are doing better than most. According to the Security Scanner Web poll featured in the January issue of SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION, 52 percent of respondents say their outlook for 2009 is “optimistic” or “outstanding.” The rest responded “worried” (22 percent), “skeptical” (19 percent) and “dismal” (7 percent). A word of caution is in order, however, as this data was collected a couple of months ago and there are signs the rippling effects of the recession are finally beginning to impact installing security companies more severely.

What makes the current state of affairs especially difficult to deal with is that Americans were overworked and underpaid, and facing understaffed, highly stressful work environments before the recession even took hold. That’s because during previous economic downturns employers slashed jobs and pay while leaning on workers to shoulder what had been the responsibilities of two or three people. And guess what? When the economy improved, the great majority of companies decided they preferred fattening their profits as opposed to hiring more people back. This also caused those companies (and in some cases, shareholders) to place inflated expectations on future profit margins.

So now we have the entire country really suffering basically due to the greed and shortsightedness of business owners and operators. I realize it is more complicated than that, but a lot of what is going on now could have been lessened had these businesses valued their employees as much as the almighty dollar. As we move forward and recover from this economic ordeal I hope management and ownership will learn these lessons and operate their businesses more holistically. But this is also a two-way street and employees need to uphold their end of the bargain by always giving 100 percent, never taking advantage of or being dishonest with their employers, being grateful for everything their employer does for them, and remaining as loyal as possible.

So where do you fall in this equation? Does it make sense to you?

As always, thanks for reading.

Scott Goldfine



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