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UK Workers Pessimistic About Future Job Prospects

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Despite record levels of employment, workers in the United Kingdom are pessimistic about their future career outlook.

This is according to research by the Institute for the Future of Work and Opinium, which found that 60% of the 3,000 workers it surveyed think it would be difficult to find a new job if they lost their current job. Furthermore, 32% believe they would have to take a less senior job if they became unemployed.

The study found that worker optimism has fallen, with a fifth of workers becoming more pessimistic about their career prospects than last year (22%). The research also shows that only a quarter (26%) of workers trust the government to provide assistance if they find themselves unemployed.

“These findings show that British workers, especially those living outside London, are rightly anxious about job change and prospects through the double disruption of Brexit and the 4IR,” said Anna Thomas, co-founder and director of The Institute for the Future of Work. “Confidence in support for worker transition — Britain's next big challenge — is low. We need to broaden the conversation about good work and how we get there.”

This pessimism is starker outside of London; while 52% of London workers say they would struggle to find a new job if made redundant, this is significantly higher at 61% for workers outside of London. This is likely related to the amount of job choices available in the capital, with 51% of London workers believing they would have a lot of job options to choose from, compared to only 38% of non-London workers.

The findings also show confidence in the welfare state is low. While national government was rated highest for who should be primarily responsible to provide support in the event of someone’s unemployment, only 26% of people said that they expected government to actually offer support. Nearly 80% of people said they’d expect their family to help them, while 68% said they’d look to friends and 32% to their religious community.

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