PERCEPTIONS OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY IN COPING WITH AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE: AN AUSTRALIAN PERSPECTIVE
Boxall, D., La Trobe University, Australia
As in other modern industrial societies, job insecurity in Australia is on the increase. The global pressures on businesses to remain competitive and economically viable, coupled with the increased flexibility of a deregulated labor market, have been associated with many recent organizational changes. These changes have resulted in more movement in the labor market with a trend for workers to change jobs more often than was the case in the past. These factors have led to a distinction in the literature between job security, applying to the present position, and employment security, applying to the ability to maintain employment. As part of a larger study of job insecurity, this paper reports on a sample of 98 Australian employees from a range of different occupations and job security situations. Thoughts or actions reported as helpful coping strategies during times of concern about job security were grouped into the type of problem-focused and emotion-focused categories used in the Ways of Coping Questionnaire (Folkman et al., 1986). A model of the consequences of job insecurity will be presented in which perceptions of employment security are shown to play an important moderating role in coping with an uncertain future. These findings will be discussed in relation to the practical implications for assisting employees to cope with a changing work environment.