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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Increasingly confident about the job market, U.S. workers expect higher pay in a economic recovery or many of them will be hunting for new jobs, according to research released on Friday.
Workers are feeling more optimistic about the economy and job market than they have since December 2008, according to a survey conducted for www.Glassdoor.com, an online job information site, in late March.
"This is a precursor to consumer confidence," said Rusty Rueff, Glassdoor's career and workplace expert. "You don't go spend money, you don't go take a vacation, you don't buy the car unless you feel like over the next six months or 12 months, you're not going to have to worry about your job security and your pay security."
Fewer than one in five workers are concerned about being laid off in the next six months, a rate that has fallen for five consecutive quarters, the survey said.
If they were to lose their jobs, 38 percent of workers think they could find a job matching their experience and pay in six months. In the previous quarter, the fourth quarter of 2009, 33 percent thought that was likely, it said.
Yet 76 percent of employees say they are willing to take a pay cut if faced with losing their jobs -- from about half who would take a cut of less than 10 percent to one in 20 workers who would take a cut of more than a third.
"Their confidence is coming back around where the job market is going to be," Rueff said. "But the reality is they're probably looking left and right at former co-workers and friends who are in the job market and saying, 'Look how long it's taken them to find another job and how tough it is.'"
More than a quarter of workers whose companies have made structural changes in the last six months said their pay was cut, the survey said. That rate has held roughly steady over the past five quarters, Glassdoor.com said.
"Companies realize that people are willing to take a cut versus any more restructurings happening, and they are capitalizing on that. There's nothing wrong with that until there comes some kind of breaking point," Rueff said..
"There will be a point where in this job market, the churn of people starting to get up and leave and go other places will start to happen."
If there is an economic recovery, 21 percent of employees said they will be looking for a new job, roughly half expect a raise, 22 percent expect a bonus and 11 percent expect a promotion, Glassdoor.com said.
Its online site offers information on salaries, jobs and interview questions, contributed anonymously, about several thousand companies. Its quarterly survey measures job security, salary expectations, rehire probability and company outlook as indicators of employee confidence.
Harris Interactive conducted the survey for Glassdoor.com from March 19 to 23, 2010 online among 2,315 adults. The data were weighted to be representative of the U.S. population on the basis of region, age within gender, education, household income, race or ethnicity and propensity to be online, and no estimates of sampling errors could be calculated, it said.