68% of Job Seekers Optimistic About Their Job Prospects

Posted February 29, 2012 by

Live Career's job outlook pie chartMany U.S. job seekers are surprisingly optimistic about their job search, but critical of current government job creation efforts and doubtful that this year’s Presidential election will dramatically affect their employment prospects. An online survey was conducted by the career website, LiveCareer, and questioned over 6,100 users. These users represent people in the U.S. who identified themselves as looking for work during the last two weeks of January. Fifty-two percent of the survey respondents were unemployed and are part of the staggering 8.3 percent U.S. unemployment rate as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics last month.

“We frequently survey our users to understand their attitudes toward their job search,” says Jamie Freundlich, Co-CEO of LiveCareer North America, “With this being an election year, we wanted to get a sense of how politics might be affecting our U.S. job seekers’ attitudes and optimism.”

Based on the survey responses, most of LiveCareer’s job seekers believe their job search should be significantly affected by the next Presidential election, but do not see this year’s winner having a dramatic impact on improving their chances of securing a job. While 64 percent of the survey’s respondents agreed with the statement that “U.S. job creation is the most important issue in the upcoming Presidential election,” only 41 percent of respondents agreed that “getting a job next year in 2013 will be dramatically affected by who wins the upcoming Presidential election.”

Further dissatisfaction was revealed with the respondents’ views towards the U.S. government’s efforts to boost job creation. Less than 27 percent of respondents indicated that they were satisfied with current efforts, while 42 percent indicated that they were dissatisfied. A majority of the respondents voiced their desires to have the government bridge the job skills gap and tended to support multiple approaches for the government to create jobs. Fifty-four percent said that companies should get a tax break to hire the unemployed. Sixty-five percent said that the government should provide free job and skills training to the unemployed.

Interestingly, more experienced workers were more critical and more likely to show dissatisfaction with the government’s current efforts: Thirty-two percent of entry-level respondents said they were dissatisfied, compared to 46 percent of professional-level respondents, 49 percent of management-level respondents and 57 percent of executive-level respondents.

“Some data in the survey suggests that our users don’t see a strong cause-and-effect connection between politics and the economy,” says Freundlich. For example, when asked who they believed was most at fault for the recent recession, 51 percent of respondents blamed the “economy as a whole.” Only 31 percent of respondents blamed one of the major political parties, while just 13 percent said they blamed Wall Street. In addition, only 24 percent of respondents answered that their current employment situation would be a major factor in if/how they would vote in this year’s election.

Surprisingly, despite the recent recession, high unemployment rate and perceived results of the Presidential election, respondents were upbeat about their future job prospects. Thirty-three percent of respondents said they had an “optimistic” outlook toward their job search, while another 35 percent said they were “very optimistic.” “When you consider that more than half the respondents are currently unemployed, that’s an encouraging note,” says Freundlich.

Freundlich stresses that this was an informal survey of his company’s user base, and is not a statistically accurate poll of the broader U.S. population. “The responses came from a self-selected sample and the responses have not undergone a formal review for statistical significance,” he says. Freundlich says that his company welcomes a deeper review of the survey data by academics and researchers, and would make the data available to qualified researchers. Those wanting a copy of the data can request a copy by emailing survey2012-01@livecareer.com.

Freundlich also stresses that his company is non-political. “We just want to help people write a great resume and find good jobs,” he says.

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