UK credit crisis rattles '15 million workers', survey says

Workology.com, the professional social networking site, has unveiled the results of the first national survey of workplace and employee attitudes since the credit crunch hit.

As part of its ongoing research into Work Attitudes in Britain, Workology.com and market research company Populus surveyed more than 1,000 adults in Britain, asking them about their attitudes to work and the way they perceive the web in a work context.

The results show:

• Crumbling confidence in large companies; • Shift in use of web from consumerism to productivity as the crunch bites;

• Most employees perceive the web as a trusted way to address work challenges – a situation that did not exist during the last recession.

Workology.com founder Sam Gyimah said the survey demonstrates that changing employee attitudes are being reinforced by the economic situation.

He explained: “We are in a transitional age where trust in the workplace is moving away from established but impersonal institutions towards more personal and less formal relationships.

“We’ve come to the end of the nice decade typified by cheap flights, digital music and movies, poking each other on social networking sites. With the economy slowing we are likely to see the web change to meet a new set of consumer demands, which are less about enjoyment and fulfilment and more about basic productivity”.

NATIONAL WORK SURVEY REVEALS SHIFTING EMPLOYEE ATTITUDES

Crumbling confidence

- 53% of UK adults (1 in 2) no longer trust large corporates to give them the job security they need;

- When the statistic is applied to the number of workers in the UK (30 million), then roughly 15 million people fear for their jobs;

- This is not surprising given the waves of downsizing in the early ‘90s and deterioration in final salary pensions which is what made working for a large corporate secure;

- The baby boomer generation (who have seen many recessions) are the least likely to trust large corporates on job security. On average 56% of this generation have lost confidence in large organisations;

- Men trust large corporates less than women do (53% vs. 42%);

- Loss of confidence is wide and evenly spread around the UK, on average 45%.

How people are reacting to this confidence issue:

- 3 in 5 adults (two thirds) would rather work for themselves as a way of controlling the way they work;

- Altered trust ranking. Friends & family, and peers in the same situation, are more trusted in times of economic uncertainty and for help in starting out on their own. Large companies, government organisations and life coaches ranked the lowest.

What role will the web play in the downturn? Shift from consumerism to productivity

- 70% of time on web spent on social networking, buying goods and services and price comparison sites;

- 42% of users anticipate they will use the internet more for ‘work-related reasons’.

What does this mean in terms of employment, productivity and the web?

- Mervyn King said we have come to the end of the nice decade. In the nice decade, the web was all about pleasure, leisure and instant gratification;

- The ‘nice’ decade – of low unemployment, low inflation, rising incomes - enabled people to have fun with their money. And the web made this even more so. Empowering a generation, if not generations. But that was against a backdrop of rising prosperity and living standards;

- Now as that backdrop changes dramatically, businesses and entrepreneurs need to ask how will the tool that transformed the last 10 years – empowering and enabling – be of most commercial use in the next few years;

- Workology.com is about harnessing the power of the web to address economic issues. In particular, use new trends to empower and enable individuals to fulfil careers outside traditional corporate structures.

Workology.com is designed to meet three trends:

a.) desire of new workers to not conform but be their own boss;

b.) economic downturn forcing people into the labour market;

c.) corporates looking to retain people on flexible contracts to help keep costs (head count down).

Workology.com is an online community for people who want to control the way they work.

Launched in March this year, the site has over 5,000 users looking for flexible opportunities and support as the crunch bites - purely from word of mouth and over 50,000 unique visitors per month from word of mouth marketing.