[ Skip Main Nav ]

Sign in
Create an account
Forgot your password?
Enter your email and we'll send you instructions on how to reset your password.

Forgot your password?

Change password

A password reset email has been sent to your account.

Site navigation

More than 60 percent of working adults worry about losing their jobs in the current economic climate and one-in-five think about it at least once a week, finds University of Phoenix survey

Survey reveals how this fear is affecting work performance

PHOENIX, July 11, 2013 — A recent University of Phoenix® survey reveals that the challenging economic climate may be having a profound impact on the behavior of employed Americans. More than 60 percent of working adults (61 percent) worry about losing their jobs in the current economic climate and one-in-five (20 percent) think about it at least once a week. Nearly one-in-ten (nine percent) think about it at least once per day.

This fear may be keeping workers from realizing their full potential. In fact, 44 percent of working adults identify ways in which the current economic climate has affected their work performance, careers and/or job decisions. Of these workers whose performance has been affected by the current economic climate, more than one-third (34 percent) report that they are less likely to disagree or speak up, and the same percentage say that they have avoided looking for a new job (34 percent). More than a quarter (26 percent) have not sought a promotion, 24 percent report that they are more competitive with co-workers  and 15 percent are less inclined to bring up out-of-the-box ideas. On a positive note, 30 percent of these workers volunteer for more projects.

The online survey of more than 1,600 U.S. employed adults was conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of University of Phoenix in April 2013.

“In a challenging economic environment, workers should be doing more to position themselves as leaders in their organizations, but the survey finds that many are holding back at work, and this can have a negative effect on performance and productivity,” said Dr. Sam Sanders, college chair for University of Phoenix School of Business and a former human resources executive with more than 20 years of hiring and employee relations experience. “Individuals may feel it is best to maintain the status quo and not draw too much attention to themselves, but this can send the wrong message and affect the individual’s personal career growth. Those who understand the big picture and how their own skill sets help their companies achieve goals should have more confidence and can have an advantage in the workplace.”

Who Worries the Most and the Least?

New York City residents are significantly more likely to worry about losing their job (78 percent), compared to the national average (61 percent) and cities such as Chicago (60 percent), Dallas-Ft. Worth (55 percent) and San Francisco (41 percent). Meanwhile, 59 percent of San Francisco residents never worry about this, which is significantly greater than the national average (39 percent). The percentages of residents in other select metropolitan areas who never worry about losing their job are as follows: New York City (22 percent), Los Angeles (36 percent) and Atlanta (38 percent). 

While the majority of working adults in each age group worry about job loss, working adults age 55 and older (51 percent) are significantly less likely to do so compared to their younger counterparts ages 18-34 and 35-44 (both 63 percent) and ages 45-54 (67 percent).

Four Tips to Continue Career Growth Despite a Challenging Economic Climate

“In business classes at University of Phoenix, curriculum mirrors what is happening in the professional world and we teach skills and create scenarios in our classrooms that reflect the dynamics of the workplace. Significant emphasis is placed on problem-solving and being entrepreneurial in your own career,” said Sanders. He offers the following tips to help individuals get past the fear and feel comfortable speaking up in their organizations.

  • Be knowledgeable and see the big picture: Particularly in a challenging environment, it is important to understand the various factors that are contributing to an organization’s success and its challenges. Be a go-to expert in your area and demonstrate that you understand how these activities fit into the larger organization’s goals.
  • Be a problem solver, not just a problem identifier: Organizations value critical thinking, but in uncertain times, it can be tempting to look to others for solutions. Focus on the results and the solutions. Demonstrate that you have done your homework by having strong proof points when recommending ideas.
  • Continue to grow your skills: Turn fear into confidence by understanding what skills your company needs and pushing yourself to learn or grow these skills. Always be looking for ways to enhance your skill set and tie these skills to the organization’s priorities.
  • Be entrepreneurial in your own career: Being an entrepreneur isn’t just about starting a business. It is about looking for and seizing opportunity. This can mean finding new revenue streams, extending into new categories or improving a process. It also applies to your own career. Pursue learning opportunities, volunteer for new assignments or tackle a project from a different perspective.

To help individuals take control of their career search and management, University of Phoenix has introduced the Phoenix Career Services™ portal, a comprehensive set of career resources and tools. This includes the Career Interest Profiler that assists individuals in discovering how their personal interests can relate to careers; the Job Market Research Tool that helps individuals determine where the jobs are, current and recent salary information and what companies are hiring; and a Career Plan, a personalized roadmap that enables individuals to create a detailed plan for their academic journey.

To learn more about Phoenix Career Services, visit www.phoenix.edu/careerservices, and for more information about University of Phoenix degree programs, visit www.phoenix.edu.

Survey Methodology

This Working Adult survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of University of Phoenix between April 18-26, 2013, among 1,616 U.S. adults age 18 or older who are full-time, part-time, or self-employed. The data include oversamples in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas-Ft. Worth, San Francisco, and Atlanta. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact tanya.burden@phoenix.edu.


University of Phoenix is constantly innovating to help working adults move efficiently from education to careers in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant and engaging courses, and interactive learning can help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. As a subsidiary of  Apollo Education Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: APOL), University of Phoenix serves a diverse student population, offering associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs from campuses and learning centers across the U.S. as well as online throughout the world. For more information, visit www.phoenix.edu

Media Contact

Tanya Burden
University of Phoenix


# # #