Employee confidence rebounds but remains near record lows: Glassdoor

Employee confidence rebounded in March but continues to remain lower than most points in 2023, according to an April 2 report based on Glassdoor’s Employee Confidence Index.

The share of employees who reported a positive six-month business outlook rose to 46.1% in March, up from 45.2% in February but lower than 51% in March 2023.

“Employee confidence remains muted as employees remain concerned about job security and their employers’ growth prospects, but the modest improvement in March hopefully presages a turning point in sentiment,” Daniel Zhao, a lead economist and senior manager on Glassdoor’s economic research team, wrote in the report.

Although news about layoffs had faded since the beginning of 2024, anxiety among employees has continued to increase, Zhao noted. The share of Glassdoor reviews with a mention of layoffs increased month over month in March and is up 28% year over year. A similar trend happened during the second half of 2023, when layoffs faded from the beginning of the year but discussions among employees continued.

Employee confidence differs by industry and has remained highest in government and public administration, healthcare and education. The three industries have accounted for about 3 in 5 jobs added in the U.S. during the first quarter of 2024.

Employee confidence differs by seniority as well, dropping by 2.2 percentage points for entry-level workers in March, reaching the lowest level since Glassdoor began recording data on employee confidence in 2016. 

“While layoffs have remained low across the economy, hiring has also slowed dramatically,” Zhao wrote. “Lower layoffs help preserve job security for already-employed workers, but the slowdown in hiring is also crimping opportunities for new grads to enter the workforce.”

Even still, entry-level hiring is predicted to remain steady during the upcoming 2024 graduation season, according to a Robert Half report. In a November 2023 survey, 65% of companies indicated they planned to hire entry-level workers throughout the first half of 2024.

Employee confidence may also continue to remain low as employee expectations reach an all-time high, according to an isolved report. Although HR leaders said they believe employees deserve a good experience at work, they also expressed concerns about rising employee experience expectations and cited it as the top threat to talent retention.

HR leaders’ expectations have also continued to decline around retention and employee engagement, according to a report from The Conference Board. Most CHROs said retaining current workers is a key part of their talent strategy in 2024.