Survey Reveals Almost Half of the U.S. Workforce Feels Financially Insecure in Today’s Job Market
One in Four Respondents Fear Their Jobs Will Become Extinct; 40% View Themselves as Less Financially Secure Than Their Parents
BURLINGTON, Vt.— Oct. 7, 2019 — A new survey from Champlain College Online finds that while 48% of respondents describe themselves as “somewhat” or “very” financially insecure and one in four (25%) feel their current job is at risk of becoming extinct, most are willing to invest in continued training and education to advance their career prospects.
Champlain College Online commissioned the Adult Viewpoints 2019: Economic Security and Advancement in the Workforce survey, conducted online by national market research firm Full Circle Research, to explore how adults across three generations of the U.S. workforce – millennials, Generation X, and baby boomers – perceive their financial stability and career trajectory in today’s dynamic job landscape.
While there was a significant sense of financial instability among respondents, perceptions of financial security increased notably with education level; 51% of those with a master’s degree or higher say that they are “somewhat” or “very” secure, as compared to only 23% of those with a high school diploma or lower. Respondents indicate a willingness to pursue a range of actions to transition to a new job or career, including going back to school. Over a third (37%) of all respondents said they were likely to complete a certificate at a college or university online; 27% would pursue a master’s degree online, and 25% would pursue a bachelor’s degree online.
“For Americans of all ages, the economic opportunities that follow from pursuing higher education are making a greater difference than ever to their financial security,” said Dr. Laurie Quinn, interim president of Champlain College. “Moving up the career ladder in a time of more automation and less wage growth means continuing to learn and re-skill through degree and training programs that offer quality, relevance, and affordability. Access to this type of learning with great advising support is what all students deserve.”
While the survey underscores the fact that the modern workforce wants professional development opportunities and is willing to upskill if provided with resources and support, only 46% of adults surveyed see an opportunity to advance in their current job, and nearly a third (30%) feel insecure in their career field. With this in mind, 44% were “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to change their jobs to feel more secure. And not surprisingly, 63% of these likely job changers fear that their job is at risk of going extinct. Respondents cited a variety of additional reasons for this career insecurity, including low pay growth (54%).
“Adults are eager for ongoing learning and training to help address financial uncertainty. Employers should take note, as lack of security is leading workers to consider new career opportunities. Organizations can retain employees by offering professional development and continuing education – and clear pathways to promotion – that will also help increase their financial security and well-being,” said Melissa Marcello, associate vice president at Champlain College Online.
Additionally, the survey found:
- Forty percent of respondents view themselves as less financially secure than their parents, challenging the common belief that each generation is successively more secure than the one before.
- Twenty-seven percent view themselves as insecure in their current jobs, and 39% are either unsure or do not see a future in their current career field.
- Nearly a quarter of respondents (23%) don’t believe they have the necessary skills to keep up with changes in their fields.