In the last quarter of 2013 we undertook a national employee confidence survey that assessed employee outlook and perceptions on a number of issues pertaining to the economy, employers, job security and employment opportunities. We used a composite index of four equally weighted indices, namely macro-economic confidence index, employer confidence index, job security index and job transition index to measure the level of Employee Confidence.
The Employee Confidence Index as at December 2013 was 44.03%. This suggested an 11.80% drop in Employee Confidence Index from the previous confidence levels of 58.83% (as observed in December 2012). The highest confidence levels we observed were in May 2010 where the confidence index was 60.35%. Employee confidence fluctuated between April 2010 and December 2011 then began dropping successively to the time of this last survey (October 2013).
Employee perception of three of the four indices we observed dropped between the period December 2012 and October 2013.
The macro-economic confidence index as at October 2013 was 22.30%. Only 2 in every 10 of the respondents indicated that they believe that economy was improving. 77.70% said that the economy is not improving. The 2013 Q4 results represent a 33.10% decline from the Q4 2012 positive responses to this question. In Q4 2012, 55.40% of the respondents expressed confidence in the economy improving.
The employer confidence Index was 54.90%. Employees were asked whether or not the future of their current employer looked bright. 54.90% agreed that the future of their current employer looked bright whilst 45.10% of the respondents disagreed. When asked the same question in Q4 2012, 57.10% of the respondents agreed that the future of their employers looked bright.
The job security index was 43.50%. The respondents were asked whether or not they felt secure in their current job. Most (56.50%) of the respondents disagreed that they felt secure in their current job compared to 43.50% that agreed. The 2013 results did however suggest a 0.9% increase in overall job security when compared to the last quarter of 2012 Survey where the confidence index was 42.60%.
When asked if they felt confident in finding a new job, 55.40% of the respondents agreed that they were confident they could find a new job whilst 44.60% expressed skeptism. When compared to Q4 2012 (68.20%), this represents a 23.60% decrease in employee’s confidence in their ability to find new jobs.
Respondents were also asked what their major concern/ stress factors an employee was. The dominant stress factor amongst Zimbabwean employees is job security. 28.00% of the respondents cited lack of job security as their main concern. 23.30% of the respondents said they have no confidence in their current employers and are actively looking for a job. 4.70% said although insecure, they would rather stay with their current employers.
These low confidence levels are not surprising given the number of company closures and retrenchments that we have been observing. They are reflective of the pertaining macro-economic environment. But how can job applicants prepare themselves so that they are competitive even in these conditions?
Tip # 1 Ensure that your CV is a winning CV
In this environment you have hundreds of equally qualified people that will apply for a job. Do not count on your qualifications to get you into the interview room. Effectively design your CV so that it markets you as the best candidate for the job. I have written articles on how to prepare a winning CV. You can request for these article so that they can guide you.
Tip # 2 Undergo Interview Coaching
Some people have excellent CVs and they are called to the interview; but when you see them and hear them talk you become very depressed. They show clear disorganisation and they do not even know what the prospective employer does. Never take interviews for granted – no matter how good you think you are. You need to prepare for the interview. There are the basic things: dressing, speaking confidently, researching about the company as well as the target position. Many people take this for granted – they just pitch-up for the interview unprepared and still wonder why they are not getting jobs.
Tip # 3: Continue improving your skills and qualifications
Just because you are finding it difficult to get a job does not mean you should just sit and hope your fortunes will change. Improve yourself. Attend short courses. Enroll for that degree or that diploma.
This tip also applies to people who are currently employed. You have some people with excellent experience profiles but they do not have the educational qualifications to back it up. You also have employed people who become so complacent in their jobs they forget that improving their qualifications makes them more competitive on their job market. Some people begin to run around when they hear the company is now retrenching and it needs people with higher qualifications to remain – but by then it will be too late.
Tip # 4: Network, Network, Network
Networking can never be over emphasized. How do you expect to get the job if you do not know people in the right places? You need to be networked. Networking may mean registering with a recruitment agency so that you receive updates on relevant jobs. It can also mean establishing contact with people currently employed in other companies so that when a relevant vacancy arises they can let you know. The mistake some people make is to always count on getting job vacancies from the newspaper – such a strategy may help you spot opportunities BUT IT IS DEFINITELY NOT ENOUGH. For instance not all vacancies are advertised in the newspaper. Make an effort to develop connections in different companies so that if vacancies arise, they will let you know and you can apply through the due process.
Collin Bhiza is a Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm. Phone 481946-48/481950/2900276/2900966 or cell number 077 3033 748 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.ipcconsultants.com