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Nearly Half of U.S. Workforce Worried About Financial Insecurity

Andrew Martins
Andrew Martins
Staff Writer

A new survey highlights fears around workers' financial well-being and job security.

  • Approximately 48% of respondents said they were "somewhat" or "very" financially insecure, though respondents with higher levels of education felt better about their prospects.
  • About 25% said they worried that their jobs were "at risk of becoming extinct."
  • Roughly 23% said they felt they couldn't keep up with changes in their fields.

Regardless of what you do for a living, the main impetus for seeking out a consistent paycheck is to ensure your and your family's financial security. Knowing that you're able to pay your bills on time and cover the daily necessities is something that, according to a new study, nearly half of respondents worry they may not be able to do.

Out of the more than 1,000 people who participated in the "Adult Viewpoints 2019: Economic Security and Advancement in the Workforce" survey, 48% of respondents said they felt they were either "somewhat" or "very" financially insecure, and 40% said they felt less financially secure than their parents. The national survey was conducted online by Full Circle Research from July 15 to July 28, 2019, and sought responses from American workers between the ages of 21 and 72.

Along with their financial well-being, researchers found that 25% of respondents feared that their jobs were at risk of becoming obsolete, joining the ranks of elevator operators, switchboard operators and ice cutters.

Jobs going the way of the dodo

As society advances, it's only natural for certain jobs to become obsolete. Yet with how fast things move today, the tail for some careers keeps getting shorter, leaving workers wondering how they'll provide for themselves and their loved ones.

With many positions likely to be replaced by automation in the coming years, it's no surprise that many respondents felt unsure about their prospects. Less than half of those polled (46%) said they saw a chance to advance at their current job, with 30% stating they felt insecure in their field.

It's that insecurity, researchers claim, that is likely to cause 44% of respondents to feel "very likely" or "somewhat likely" that they will change their jobs for better security. Of that same group, 63% said they were likely to change careers because they feel their jobs are "at risk of going extinct." Overall, 39% said they were "unsure or do not see a future in their current career field."

And while that may be the case for some career paths, researchers found that respondents weren't willing to give up entirely.

Continuing education for workers

In today's workplace, constantly shifting technologies and the fast-paced world they facilitate requires workers to stay on their toes and adapt to the times. While the survey examined the work climate as it relates to millennials, Gen Xers, and boomers, they found that most respondents were "willing to invest in continued training and education" to better their careers moving forward.

As such, researchers found that more than one-third (37%) of all respondents said they would consider seeking out a certificate at a college or university online. Furthermore, 27% said they would pursue a master's degree online, and 25% said they'd try to obtain their bachelor's degree online. [See related article: What You Need to Know About Going Back to School for a Career Change]

"Employers should take note, as lack of security is leading workers to consider new career opportunities," said Melissa Marcello, associate vice president at Champlain College Online. "Organizations can retain employees by offering professional development and continuing education – and clear pathways to promotion – that will also help increase their financial security and well-being."

With continued education proving to be a necessity in today's work climate, Dr. Laurie Quinn, interim president of Champlain College, said the economic benefits from seeking out additional certifications or degrees "are making a greater difference than ever to [workers'] financial stability."

"Moving up the career ladder in a time of more automation and less wage growth means continuing to learn and reskill through degree and training programs that offer quality, relevance, and affordability," she said.

Image Credit: Wavebreakmedia/Getty Images
Andrew Martins
Andrew Martins
Business News Daily Staff
Andrew Martins has written more than 300 articles for business.com and Business News Daily focused on the tools and services that small businesses and entrepreneurs need to succeed. Andrew writes about office hardware such as digital copiers, multifunctional printers and wide format printers, as well as critical technology services like live chat and online fax. Andrew has a long history in publishing, having been named a four-time New Jersey Press Award winner.