Survey: Recession-Weary Workers Appear More Upbeat -- At Least To CFOs

With the U.S. economic recovery seemingly on hold, workers' moods would be expected to be anything but improving. But a new survey shows that some workers, at least, are feeling more upbeat.

When asked if employee morale has changed to any degree compared to a year ago, 42 percent of chief financial officers polled said that workers' moods had improved at least somewhat in the last 12 months, according to Accountemps, which supplies temporary personnel to accounting and other finance-related businesses.

The survey of more than 1,400 CFOs across the nation, however, also showed that a majority -- 53 percent -- of them reported no change in employee morale at their organizations.

The increase in employee morale can be explained in part by companies' efforts to increase satisfaction and boost employee motivation, Accountemps says.

Managers and supervisors who have provided resources, such as technology and additional personnel, have fewer overburdened employees, who are therefore happier.

"Things have been slowly and steadily been getting better -- really since July '09," says Bill Driscoll, district president for New England at Robert Half International, the parent company to Accountemps.

"So we're really two years down the road to an improving economic situation," Driscoll tells AOL Jobs.

He notes, for example, that the unemployment rate among workers with college degrees is at about 4.5 percent, and the demand for workers with specialized skills is high.

Beyond simply having a job, employed workers are finding that prospects of finding another job, should they need it, are better. That's vastly different from just a few years ago, when workers were girding for the worst and just happy, for the moment, to have a job.

"That's just not the world we live in right now," Driscoll says. "I think that empowers employees and I think it improves morale."

Moreover, he says, the extra effort put forth by workers in the past few years hasn't gone unnoticed by employers.

Many employers are offering perks, resuming pay raises and boosting bonuses, in addition to allowing greater flexibility and resources to employees to help them get their jobs done.

In talking with leaders of the companies he works with, Driscoll says that few have expressed concerns about a double-dip recession.

Still, with next year's presidential election looming, the outlook remains cloudy, he says. "There's uncertainty out there, and that's not helpful."

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