A quarter of workers are afraid of losing their jobs, while more than half the workforce is not expecting a pay rise in the next year, new figures show.
The statistics - part of a Research NZ survey released yesterday - show 24 per cent of those in paid work do not feel their employment is secure, compared with 73 per cent who believe their jobs are safe.
At the same time, 58 per cent of workers said they were pessimistic about a pay rise in the next 12 months, though 39 per cent were expecting to get more money.
Low-income households were the most gloomy about their job security, with a third of workers concerned about losing employment. In households earning more than $70,000, some 18 per cent had job security concerns.
Almost a third - 31 per cent - of young workers aged 15 to 29 did not feel their jobs were secure. A total of 55 per cent did not expect a pay rise in the next 12 months either.
Research NZ director Emanuel Kalafatelis said the results showed a high level of concern, considering New Zealand had "an economy characterised by historically low levels of unemployment, and significant skill and labour shortages for a number of years".
And a Manpower survey just out shows Kiwi employees could have reason to be glum. The Employment Outlook Survey of New Zealand hiring trends - released yesterday - reveals the pace of hiring is set to slow further in the first quarter of 2009.
The survey asked 753 employers about their hiring intentions in the next three months. It showed the pace of hiring has fallen considerably in the final quarter of this year, and was likely to deteriorate further in the opening months of 2009.
Manpower's New Zealand general manager Catherine Lo-Giacco said employers would continue to take a "wait and see approach" to staff levels before hiring or further reducing staff.
"So until then, it will be a rougher road for job seekers."
The survey results came as no surprise to Helene Higbee, director of Higbee Schaffler, which provides pay advice to a number of businesses, all of whom had decided on no pay increases or "significantly reducing" them.
Employers and Manufacturers' Association employment services manager David Lowe said until recently, employers were particularly keen to find skilled workers, and that was still the case. Those with solid work skills would be most likely to keep their jobs, he said.
* Putting in extra hours
A new Statistics NZ study of work hours shows 62.7 per cent of employed people complete all their work hours between 7am and 7pm, Monday to Friday, the "standard" working times.
But the Survey of Working Life study found almost as many people - 59.2 per cent - had worked at a non-standard time at least once in the previous four weeks.
About half of all employees - 50.5 per cent - had done some weekend work in the previous month. Of those, the majority were men - 54.6 per cent to 45.7 per cent of women.
More than a quarter (28.1 per cent) claimed to work 45 hours or more a week. Six out of 10 employers said they usually worked 45 hours or more each week, compared with 35.1 per cent of self-employed workers.