LinkedIn’s U.S. Workforce Confidence Index gathers data on how workers across the nation feel about their jobs, finances, personal investments and other factors that affect their long-term future, and a recent report shows confidence is up. That may seem surprising after extreme shifts in unemployment numbers and sweeping global economic uncertainty. However, when you look at the last month’s data, it’s an encouraging indicator of how Americans regard their abilities to face challenges, find solutions, and become stronger than ever.
What is Workforce Confidence and How is It Measured?
Workforce Confidence is more than an emotional temperature snapshot. It’s often viewed as a predictor of behaviors and outcomes. People who have positive expectations about their ability to achieve career success and grow their personal wealth are more likely to work hard, have high self-esteem and withstand obstacles.
LinkedIn conducts an online survey every two weeks that gathers data from a random sampling of around 5,000 United States-based members who are currently active in the workforce. Their answers are scored on a scale of -100 to 100 based on how they feel about these statements:
- I feel confident about my ability to get or hold onto a job right now
- I feel confident about my ability to improve my financial situation in the next 6 months
- I feel confident about my ability to progress in my career in the next year
When the survey began in April, most of the nation was shut down. Americans were isolated, stuck at home and unsure what the future would bring. Unemployment numbers got worse week after week.
The Workforce Confidence Index was understandably low. But in the past few months, it has been on the upswing.
Industries Feeling Highest Workforce Confidence
Optimism has increased the most in health care, consumer goods, media and communications, entertainment, and public administration industries. Workers in those industries feel good about their job security and long-term career prospects because they faced huge challenges and found ways to overcome.
In March and April healthcare workers dealt with the possibility they could be overwhelmed by large numbers of sick patients, and they might themselves contract an illness and take it home to their families. They met one challenge after another by adding personal protective equipment and adjusting safety protocols so they could keep serving on the front lines. They found ways to offer telemedicine, minimizing exposure risk and making scheduling more efficient. Health care’s October confidence measure is seven points higher than it was in September.
COVID also had a heavy impact on workers in the entertainment industry. States and cities shut down movie theaters, concert halls and venues for months in the spring and summer. Again, challenge led to innovation.
Entertainers who were able to think outside the box turned to live online events, podcasts and online content distribution. Drive-In movies experienced a comeback and theaters rolled out plans to reopen with increased safety guidelines. Media and Communication experienced a seven-point gain in confidence, while the entertainment industry’s confidence measure went up five points.
Public administration is also noticing a confidence rise as many states have recently announced hiring plans as communities open again. The consumer goods industry quickly found ways to help shoppers feel safe by providing curbside pickup and more e-commerce opportunities. Public Administration saw a seven-point gain, while confidence in for workers in consumer goods increased five points between September and October.
Workers in a wide range of industries adjusted to remote work and found themselves optimistic about the future. Manufacturing and Transportation and Logistics also experienced workforce confidence gains.
Agile Mindsets, New Strategies
Each sector that experienced measurable improvement did so because workers and administrators were able to adapt existing strategies or come up with new ones related to their products and services. They stood out by showing they care about their communities, supporting employee health and productivity and taking steps to protect the most vulnerable. The ability to shift and adapt will continue to factor in business success during the months ahead.
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