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Workers pessimistic about the economy

Almost 90% of Zimbabweans do not see any improvement in the country’s economy, while 60% of those employed do not feel secure in their jobs, a survey by a human resources consultancy has shown.

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Zimbabwe’s economy, which grew by an average 8% between 2009 – when President Robert Mugabe agreed to share power with the opposition and dollarized the economy – and 2011, before pre-election jitters set in in 2012, has flatlined since then, with GDP growth decelerating to 3.7 percent in 2013 from an estimated 4.4 percent in 2012, according to African Development Bank figures.

The government has had to revise its 2014 growth forecast from 6,1% to 3,1%, citing lack of investment and the underperformance of the commodity sector.

However, Mugabe, whose policies such as the seizure of white-owned commercial farms to resettle blacks and his current drive to localise ownership of major foreign firms are blamed for undermining investor confidence, some months ago sparked controversy when he declared the economy was improving on the back of his government’s new economic blueprint.

But Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who announced a standstill US$4,1 billion budget last week, painted a bleak picture of the economy, dramatised by 55 000 job losses in the past four years as over 4 000 firms closed shop.

According to a 2014 employee confidence survey carried by the Industrial Psychology Consultants (IPC), employee confidence has dropped to 39,16% in October 2014 from 60,35% in 2010 amid pervasive company closures.

A total of 687 employees participated in this survey. Participants were drawn from 18 economic sectors.

The IPC said the employee confidence survey is conducted to gauge workers’ confidence in the economic environment at any given time during the course of the year. Employees are asked questions related to their employment situation and the general economic climate.

Data for this survey was collected from May to November 2014 and indicates the employee confidence levels for the second half of 2014. “Only one in every 10 of the respondents indicated that they believe that the economy was improving and 88,4% said that the economy is not improving,” said IPC.

“Nearly six in every 10 (57,5%) of the respondents disagreed that they felt secure in their current jobs compared to 42,5% that agreed. The 2014 results suggest a 1% decrease in overall job security when compared to the last quarter of 2013 Survey where the confidence index was 42,6%.”

The report defined employee confidence as the extent to which employees perceive their organisation as being effectively managed and competitively positioned.

It also refers to whether or not employees believe they have a promising future with their organisation; that is, if there is job security, given the current performance of their organisation as well as the macro-economic conditions obtaining in the country.

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