One in five Kiwis fear being sacked this year

Nearly a fifth of New Zealanders fear they may lose their jobs this year as the country faces a worsening economic climate, a survey suggests.

Those on low pay and those earning more than $100,000 are among the most scared about keeping their incomes.

The figure comes from an online survey of 2852 New Zealanders earlier this month, commissioned by the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development.

It showed 75 per cent of people in work believe they will their keep jobs this year.

However, 19 per cent believe they will lose theirs and 13 per cent believe they may have difficulty finding another one quickly.

Those figures were backed up by a TV One survey, released tonight, which also showed one in five people feared losing their jobs because of the recession.

The poll showed 22 per cent of those questioned were personally worried about their jobs, 66 per cent were not concerned and the rest did not have an opinion.

Prime Minister John Key said there was no way one in five people would lose their jobs.

"There's a risk we will talk ourselves into a deeper recession than we're already experiencing," he said.

"That's one of the reasons we need to keep a bit of perspective here."

The Business Council survey sent a signal to Friday's Jobs Summit that people in the transport and construction sectors were those most anxious, while many skilled workers and small business owners and self employed feel especially at risk, said Business Council chief executive Peter Neilson.

"The level of concern over job loss is running more than twice as high as the forecast unemployment rate of 7 per cent by the end of this year. This may be having a chilling effect on investment and spending," Mr Neilson said.

However, he stressed the need to be positive about the future. Most of New Zealand's banking sector has a double A rating and should be able to continue borrowing and lending.

"When the upturn comes New Zealand has to be ready with the skills, market and product development to take advantage of the upturn. The world's population is rising from six to nine billion and the need for high quality protein food rises with it."

The survey showed that, by income, those least confident they will keep their jobs earn between $20,001 and $30,000 a year (39 per cent) followed by those earning $100,001 and $150,000 (32 per cent).

Women were slightly more confident than men of keeping their jobs (78 per cent versus 74 per cent).

Those feeling most secure are farm owners and managers (94 per cent say they will keep their jobs), followed by police, nurses, teachers and service workers (88 per cent) and senior professionals and government servants (85 per cent).

By age, those most worried about losing their jobs are 25 to 34 year-olds and 55 to 64 year-olds. Feeling most secure are 45 to 54 and 18 to 24 year-olds.

The survey comes out at the same time as a Business New Zealand survey showed one third of 647 businesses felt they were overstaffed as the country faced an economic downturn.

- NZPA

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