If the ongoing sovereign debt crisis in the Eurozone, and the lack of economy growth in the UK weren’t enough, the UK's recent run of damp springs may have felt like another nail in the coffin for some finance professionals.
However, if the stability of the financial markets and the U.S. economy are the bellwethers to gauge the health of the global economy, then there are reasons to be optimistic.
eFinancialCareers , the leading global career site network for finance professionals, releases results from its Global Financial Professionals Confidence Survey.
The survey of nearly 4,000 finance professionals in the U.S., the UK, France, Germany and the Middle East reveals their confidence in domestic and global economies, and perceptions of their organization’s performance.
Moderate to sunny outlook
UK-based finance professionals seem to be sitting on the fence. Nearly half (46%) say their confidence in the domestic economy has not changed over the past six months and the same proportion (47%) doesn’t expect it to change in the next six months. Meanwhile nearly a third (32%) expects the economy to perform better in the next six months. The key drivers of their expectations are based on signs that the UK economy is coming out of recession and financial markets seem to be returning to stability.
Meanwhile France-based finance professionals are the most pessimistic. Over 6 in ten (63%) say their confidence in the country’s economy has decreased in the past six months. Looking to the next six months, less than 1 in ten (6%) believe the domestic economy will improve, while nearly 6 in ten (59%) believe the opposite. Of those sharing this view, nearly half (48%) points to the government’s lack of efficiency management of the economy.
Conversely, finance professionals based in the Middle East hold the most positive view: nearly two thirds (63%) are confident the region’s economic situation will improve in the next 6 months, while over half [56%] were already feeling a progress in the last 6 months.
In the US, 4 in ten surveyed professionals (42%) of the finance professionals experienced an improvement in the domestic economy while slightly less (40%) had not seen any change. Looking ahead, however, optimism prevails, with 43% expecting the economy to improve over the next 6 months. These upbeat respondents pointed to returned stability of financial markets (29%), recovery of the US housing market (26%), and stronger consumer confidence (25%) as the top three drivers behind their expectations.
Eurozone crisis dampens global economic expectations
UK-based finance professionals’ confidence in the global economy and expectations are fairly similar. Over 4 in ten (44%) report their confidence in the past 6 months has remained unchanged. As regards to expectations for the next 6 months, again 43% expect no change, while optimists and pessimists are almost equally split, 29% and 28% respectively. For those holding the positive outlook, over half (54%) believe the U.S. recovery will lead the way to global recovery. Those of the opposite view claim there is still too much uncertainty within the Eurozone.
Around the globe, confidence in the global economy has remained unchanged for most professionals in the U.S., Germany, and France - 51%, 50%, and 46% respectively. Looking ahead, German finance professionals are the most negative, with nearly 4 in ten (37%) believing the global economy will take a turn for the worse.
High confidence in company performance
As regards to their own company performance, 4 in ten judge it stronger in the past 6 months, and nearly half (49%) expect their organisation to improve in the next 6 months. This possibly explains why nearly two thirds (63%) are not concerned at all about being laid off. A further 65% feel they would be likely to find a job matching their experience and compensation levels in the next 6 months if they needed to.
"Confidence is complex and fragile; it can be influenced by so many internal and external factors.So, in a company where performance is perceived as improving, employee confidence can rise, even in a difficult overall economic environment,” comments James Bennett, Global Managing Director of eFinancialCareers. "Increased confidence among employees obviously has an overall positive impact. But at the same time, as confidence increases professionals will start thinking about their next career move, and if the opportunity does not exist within their current organization, they may consider jumping ship.”
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