British workers feel more insecure about their employment prospects than at any time since before the EU referendum in 2016, according to new research.
More than a third of UK workers surveyed by Monster and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) said the current political climate made them less confident about their jobs.
Analysts said a slump in business confidence had pushed down vacancy site Monster’s index of overall UK jobs confidence to 62% in the first quarter of 2019, its lowest since the end of 2015. It was down 5% on the previous quarter.
A new report by Monster and the Cebr found confidence had gone in reverse, after rising fairly steadily between 2013 and mid-2018.
It said a period of record employment in the UK and unemployment at levels not seen since the 1970s had boosted confidence, with a tight labour market giving workers more bargaining power.
But the effect appears to be wearing off, with indicators “worsening as the global economic slowdown and Brexit have been affecting businesses and workers.”
Growing numbers of workers are in jobs where they cannot predict their next paycheck, with 8.3% now reporting unpredictable work. Monster also highlighted the rise of the gig economy.
Monster’s index looks at how secure workers are in their current jobs and earnings, as well as perceived future security, employment prospects, and careers. It takes into account more than a dozen widely followed economic indicators, including industry and public surveys and figures.
“It’s really disconcerting to see that confidence is continuing to drop amongst UK workers. However, taking into account ongoing political turmoil in the UK and continued uncertainty around Brexit it is understandable,” Derek Jenkins, UK and Ireland general manager at Monster, said.
“In recent years we’ve seen a shift away from traditional part-time roles and an increase in gigging work and zero hours contracts.
“Although this gives the impression that more people are in work, this type of work is not suitable for everyone and can leave workers feeling demotivated and uncertain about their futures.”
It comes after news the UK economy shrank in the second quarter, while separate figures also revealed the unemployment rate has ticked upwards.
But the pound recovered slightly on Thursday on better-than-expected retail figures and investors’ hopes Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn could work with rebel Tory MPs to block a no-deal Brexit.