Employment Trends Give Workers Shot of Confidence

The American worker is brimming with self-assurance, and there are a host of good reasons. Unemployment continues to be low at 4.5 percent, while opportunities continue to grow as technological advancements and a global economy open new doors.

The most recent Employee Confidence Index released by recruiting and staffing agency Spherion showed that the majority of U.S. workers remained confident in their personal job situations. Coupled with a solid economy, workplace trends in most sectors have tended to favor the American worker, who has seen increased demand and competition for their services.

That said, employees still face stumbling blocks through the rest of the year and into 2008. A potential slow down in the economy and rising health care costs are two storm clouds that continue to encircle and threaten the workforce.

As employees continue to benefit from favorable conditions, here are four major trends expected to continue through 2007 and into 2008.

Flex Your Power

If employers want to retain good workers, they better be flexible. Once a perk only offered by the most innovative and cutting-edge companies, work-life balance is a major trend that many employees not only want, but expect from employers these days.

In many cases, offering flexibility in scheduling and job sharing helps employers as well. But it’s the employees who are behind the trend of flexible work arrangements, classifying it as more important than pay in many surveys.

Cash still talks, but it’s a very short-lived advantage and certainly not a unique advantage for a given industry, said Barry L. Brown, president of a Florida-based consulting firm. Employers this year are looking at flexible work schedules and better work-life balance. Being able to enjoy time with the family or pursuing a favorite hobby is a powerful considera