Despite Economic Headwinds, Workers Are More Confident, Searching For New Roles And Asking For Raises And Promotions


American working professionals are coping with anxiety related to a weekly pattern of top-tier companies announcing layoffs, enduring the impact of record levels of inflation, high interest rates and being concerned about the effects of a possible recession.

Although there are obstacles, workers have toughened up to the abrupt economic and labor market changes. LinkedIn, the career-oriented social network and a division of Microsoft, which announced Wednesday that 10,000 jobs will be cut, reports that American workers are still staying strong and upbeat.

LinkedIn surveys show that workers are both realistic about the chances of getting laid off, but also optimistic. They are working longer hours to keep their jobs and hedging their bets by searching for new opportunities, in case things go sideways. Additionally, workers are asking for promotions and raises, believing there are still opportunities available, and the chance to change or reinvent their careers in the new year.

Only a few years after the pandemic, U.S. workers are bracing for yet another economic downturn, as nearly 40% of Americans are worried about getting laid off, according to a December 2022 LinkedIn survey. Twenty percent of respondents say that they anticipate being downsized within the next 12 months.

Despite layoffs becoming more commonplace in what is being deemed as a possible white-collar recession, more than 60% of workers feel that there is a stigma attached to being exited from their company. Moreover, 64% feel there’s still a negative connotation associated with being in between jobs.

According to LinkedIn’s Fall 2022 survey of C-suite leaders, nearly one-third of U.S. business executives have slowed down hiring plans, due to current economic uncertainty, and 26% said they have paused or frozen hiring.

LinkedIn’s January 2023 Workforce Report indicates economic growth is slowing in the U.S., but the job market is still relatively tight. “For job seekers who still feel uncertain, it’s important to know that there are still jobs out there,” said Andrew McCaskill, senior director and career expert at LinkedIn. McCaskill added, “In the U.S., there is nearly one job opening on LinkedIn for every applicant actively looking for work, nearly double the pre-pandemic average.” Although job hunters may not be able to find their next role as quickly and easily as last year, several industries are still continuing to hire, ranging from retail to education.

There Is Positivity Despite The Anxieties

Compared to the start of 2022, nearly half of the professionals now feel more confident. Two-thirds of working Americans say they want to change or reinvent themselves in their profession. They aim to enter the new year with a “new year, new me” mindset. A surprisingly large number of people—95% of working Americans—feel confident in their current job, with more than half self-reporting that they are “extremely confident.” Relative to the beginning of 2022, professionals feel more confident in asking for a promotion, seeking out a new job or calling for an increase in compensation in the new year.

Two of the main reasons for seeking out new opportunities are the hopes of increasing their salary, in light of the inflation and higher costs, and achieving a better work-life balance. More than 40% say that they consider quitting their job at least once a week.

The Difference In Demographics

LinkedIn’s research found that Black and Latino professionals feel more confident pushing for a promotion, pay raise or searching for a new job. The survey reflects that women feel less confident compared to men in seeking out a promotion or searching for a new opportunity and pay raise. The Gen-Z cohort feels the least confident when it comes to their current role at work compared to Millennials, Gen-X and Baby Boomers.

Concerns about the economy and labor market have caused some people to hunker down in their jobs, work longer hours, take on more responsibilities and develop new skills to remain employed. To hedge their bets, U.S. workers are actively scouring and applying to jobs, and tapping into their network to keep an eye out for new opportunities.

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