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Attitudes to Employment in the Recession

Press Release from Research International: Attitudes to Employment in the Recession

DATE: 28th August 2009
Press Release: Research International
For immediate release

Some workers believe employers are taking advantage of the recession at their expense

Some workers believe their employers are taking advantage of the recession at the expense of staff, finds a surveyed released by Research International today.

Nearly half of all respondents to the survey on attitudes to events affecting New Zealanders, agreed with the statement that: ‘businesses have used the recession as an excuse to freeze wages and cut staff”. The belief is strongest amongst older people and those on lower incomes.

The fear of being made redundant and having to look for another job has meant workers feel they really have no choice other than to sit tight and take whatever they are given. A Gen X male replied in the survey “I hate my job but if I lose my job, I lose my income, my whole lifestyle collapses on itself. And if I can’t pay my mortgage things immediately go pear shaped, what can you do?”.

The survey also shows how it is some of the more vulnerable groups who feel the strain in times like these. “If you are made redundant you simply cannot find another job especially when you are my age”, says an older female respondent.

“Only 35% of people surveyed actually believe that the economy is as bad as we have been led to believe” says Paul Epplett, Senior Director of Client Services at Research International. “The belief that the recession is not as bad as once predicted has fuelled some negative feelings toward employers for freezing wages and laying off staff.”

But despite the perceptions of an economy in better shape than anticipated, a large number of people still fear for their jobs. One thir of people responding to the survey feel their jobs are still under threat with vulnerability highest again amongst the older members of the population (age 55 or over) and those on mid to low income.

Project details

The purpose of the research was to investigate New Zealanders attitudes to a range of key issues facing us as individuals and as a country. This research project took place across New Zealand in June/July 2009. The quantitative stage surveyed 458 respondents aged 16 years and older and has a maximum margin of error of +/- 4.6 percentage points. The method was a mix of internet and face to face interviews. The qualitative stage completed 6 focus groups of 2.5 hours with 6 people in each.


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