How Does Job Security Affect Employee Satisfaction?

Employee satisfaction is a measure of how content people are with their jobs. Naturally, this decreases when employees feel a threat to their job security.

As this HBR article says, ‘..while job insecure workers are motivated to try to perform well, the threat of job loss (and associated stress, frustration, resentment, and exhaustion from taking on extra work or looking for other jobs) makes it harder for them to perform, essentially canceling out any potential benefits.”

Without job security, employee satisfaction will plunge, as well as employee performance.

What does security mean in a job?

In the context of work, security typically refers to the assurance that someone’s title or position is essential to the organization (at least in the short term). It also includes protection and safety at work. Here are key factors of work security:

Job Security:

Confidence in the continuity of your position within the organization, including protection against arbitrary dismissal or termination.

Financial Security:

The ability to earn a steady income and receive benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off.

Physical Safety:

A work environment that prioritizes employee safety and implements measures to prevent accidents and injuries.

Career Growth Opportunities:

Access to opportunities for advancement, skill development, and professional growth within the organization.

Data Security:

Protection of sensitive information and data belonging to employees, customers, and the organization from unauthorized access or breaches.

Emotional Well-being:

Supportive workplace culture and policies that promote mental health, work-life balance, and overall well-being of employees.

Job Security is not Job Stability

Job Stability is the assurance of consistent employment without the fear of sudden layoffs or job loss. This is the long-term view of work, something really common in previous generations that is now shifting. Some of our parents and grandparents spent 30, 40, even 50 years working for the same company. This is stability, and it is very uncommon now.

Bottom line – a stable job is always secure, but a secure job is not necessarily stable.

Why work security matters

Work security is essential for employee satisfaction and engagement. Waking up and knowing you have a job, that the work you do matters are key to mental health and employee satisfaction. When employees perceive their jobs as secure, they are more likely to feel committed to their organization and demonstrate loyalty by investing their time, effort, and skills into their work.

Also, an organization that builds a reputation for providing job security has a better employer brand and will likely attract top talent. Work security is often viewed as a key indicator of a stable and reliable employer.

What affects work security?

Several factors can impact job security. These include:

Economic Conditions:

Economic downturns, recessions, or industry-specific challenges can lead to layoffs, downsizing, or job instability due to reduced demand, financial constraints, or organizational restructuring.

Technological Advances:

Automation, artificial intelligence, and technological advancements can change job roles and requirements, leading to job displacement or the need for upskilling and reskilling among employees.

Organizational Changes:

Mergers, acquisitions, reorganizations, or shifts in company strategies can result in changes to workforce structures, job roles, and job security for employees. This is the famous “restructuring” of organizations many workers have had to endure.


Increased competition, outsourcing, offshoring, or changes in market dynamics due to globalization can impact job security by affecting demand for certain skills or industries.

Legislative and Regulatory Changes:

Changes in labor laws, regulations, or government policies can influence employment practices, contractual arrangements, or job protections, affecting work security for employees.

Industry Trends:

Shifts in consumer preferences, market trends, or industry disruptions can affect job security by altering demand for specific products, services, or skill sets within an industry.

Employer Practices:

Organizational decisions regarding hiring, firing, promotions, performance evaluations, and employee benefits can impact work security perceptions among employees.

Technological Risks:

Cybersecurity threats, data breaches, or technological disruptions can pose risks to job security in sectors heavily reliant on technology or digital infrastructure.

Environmental Factors:

Natural disasters, climate change, or environmental crises can disrupt supply chains, production processes, or business operations, leading to job insecurity in affected regions or industries.

Global Factors:

Pandemics, wars, insurrections, and more affect the world. We’re all interconnected now, so wars and struggles in one part of the world inevitably affect the world.

Demographic Shifts:

Aging populations, workforce demographics, or generational changes can influence labor market dynamics, retirement patterns, or skills shortages, impacting job security for different age groups or demographic segments.

How to Handle Job Security Issues:

Be transparent.

Have an internal communication strategy.Be candid about the financial health of the organization. Don’t let silence feed the gossip mill.

Continuous Learning and Skill Development:

Invest in ongoing training, upskilling, and reskilling programs to enhance employee capabilities and adaptability to changing job roles and industry demands.

Diversification of Skills and Roles:

Encourage employees to diversify their skill sets, explore cross-functional opportunities, and take on versatile roles within the organization to increase flexibility and resilience to market shifts.

Promote From Within.

Look first at who is on your team and how you can develop them to be leaders. Promote from within. Provide meaningful opportunities to your employees.

Agile Workforce Planning:

Adopt agile workforce planning strategies that involve flexible staffing arrangements, talent sharing, and contingency plans to respond promptly to changing business needs while minimizing the impact on job security.

Stay Calm:

Take a step back and consider your organization’s needs. Be rational. Don’t make radical decisions that, in the long run, will hurt your organization more than benefit it. Don’t lose your best people because of dollars. You don’t want to be a Band-Aid leader.

Job security is a key piece of employee satisfaction. Employee satisfaction is essential for building the road to engagement. Engagement is your golden ticket to improved performance and success. Build an employer brand that values work security and safety, employee development and opportunity.

“The feeling of insecurity is inimical to our sense of wellbeing, as it causes anxiety and stress, which harms our physical and mental health. It is no surprise then that, according to some surveys, workers across the world value job security more highly than wages.” - Ha-Joon Chang, South Korean Economist.

How Does Job Security Affect Employee Satisfaction?

To receive periodic articles & research updates, sign up for our newsletter mailing list.
Email address