Nearly half of workers have anxiety about this catastrophic career event

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Can I see you in HR? Oh no, not again! The last time you heard those words, you were about to get laid off. A new survey of 2,000 adults conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of CareerArc about layoffs shows that the Great Recession has traumatized workers, with almost 50% experiencing “layoff anxiety” and fearing an upcoming recession – even though the unemployment rate is at an all-time low of 3.6%.

Why the panic?

  • Fear of an upcoming recession: 34%
  • Rumors around the office: 32%
  • Recent round of workplace layoffs: 30%

Losing a job, however, is a fairly common event, with 40% of Americans having been laid off or fired at least once.

And men are more likely than women to have ever been laid off or fired (45% of men compared to 36% of women).

Layoff anxiety is higher the younger the worker is. It spikes amongst the Millennials, who tend to be a very anxious generation in general.

Are you prepared?

In total, almost half (47%) of workers feel that they are not prepared for a potential layoff.

Broken down by demographics, women feel less prepared than men for a layoff (54% of women vs 41% of men). Married people feel more prepared than singles, and those with a college degree and/or making over $50K feel more prepared than those without a college degree and making less than $50K.

The facts

Nothing counters anxiety-like facts. In fact, only 23% of workers who lost their jobs during the Great Recession have been laid off or fired three or more times.

Still, once bitten, twice shy – 74% of those who were laid off or fired during the Great Recession say they have layoff anxiety.