Job security is an employee’s assurance or confidence that they will keep their current job. Employees with a high level of job security has a low probability of losing their job in the near future. Certain professions or employment opportunities inherently have better job security than others; job security is also affected by a worker's performance, success of the business and the current economic environment.
A good indicator of the current job security held by the majority of the workforce is the strength or weakness of the business environment; job security is often reflected by the country’s unemployment rate and whether the country is in an economic expansion or recession. Personal job security is affected more by factors such as education, experience, skills, performance and abilities. The more an organization needs an employee’s specific skills and experience, the greater the job security. The less specialized these skills become, the less job security enjoyed because of the easy availability of a replacement.
An employee with a high level of job security will often perform and concentrate better than an employee who is in constant fear of losing a job. Although this fear can increase motivation in certain situations, a lack of job security can be a source of distraction and result in excess stress and low morale that hinders an employee’s overall performance.
Some careers have better job security because of their significant and necessary contributions to society. These careers include most positions in government, education, law enforcement, firefighting and health care; all of these professions enjoy high levels of job security compared with most private sector jobs.
Many industries and professions have seen a decrease in job security because of the growth and popularity of offshoring. Jobs subjected to offshoring can be performed with a similar quality at significantly less costs overseas. Organizations are moving production facilities and call centers to different countries to reduce the costs of doing business. In the information technology industry, this is often seen as a quick and easy way to save companies money.
Although the economy and job performance are the two most influential factors of job security, security can be increased through other avenues that are often overlooked. Some employers offer increased job security through collective bargaining agreements, employment contracts or with labor legislation that prevents arbitrary layoffs by the company.