We’ve all seen the stats: The job market is the strongest it’s been in decades, investments are up and the economy is booming. While such good news is always welcome, Indeed wanted to know how this impacts employees on the ground. Do workers feel confident in their abilities and career paths? And why should employee confidence levels matter to employers?

We’ve been thinking a lot about confidence at work as part of our new Indeed Job Market, an experience that helps job seekers boost their confidence while on the job search. The Job Market will support job seekers throughout their career journey, and kicks off with eight in-person events at cities across the U.S. 

As we prepared for this exciting launch, we wanted to see how job seekers felt on the ground. To find out, we surveyed nearly 800 U.S. workers from a variety of industries and professional stages. Read on for a closer look at career confidence levels, why they’re important and how employers can nurture confidence to boost company-wide performance.

Confidence is key for success

What do we mean when we talk about confidence, and why is it so crucial? Confident people believe in themselves and their abilities. When we feel better about ourselves, our performance and our career prospects, our work tends to thrive. 

While confidence is often thought of as a fixed trait (something you either do or don’t have), it’s actually a soft skill that changes over time. There’s ample evidence that happier employees are more productive — and our research reveals that confidence brings similar benefits. While confidence may ebb or flow depending on circumstances, it’s something we can work to build up, and it’s in employers’ best interest to help.

Our survey respondents overwhelmingly agree that confidence is key to professional success. This holds true at all stages of the job search and after starting a new role. Virtually all workers (99%) believe confidence is vital in finding a job, and 95% say it’s an “important” or “very important” factor in securing a position. When it comes to interviewing, 97% agree confidence is a critical skill, and 98% consider it crucial when negotiating a hiring package. 

But confidence matters long after getting the gig: It’s “important” or “very important” to completing daily work for 94% of respondents. Meanwhile, 97% say confidence matters when securing a promotion, and 94% believe it’s a major contributor to overall career growth. 

Interestingly, this soft skill helps people avoid poor choices: 90% of workers say confidence clarifies whether a job is a bad fit. As in any part of life, trusting ourselves lets us know when something isn’t right for us. 

Workers believe in themselves and in the market

Clearly, confidence is important — but how is this playing out with workers? Our research shows confidence levels are rising in two key areas: belief in themselves and in the job climate. 

Respondents feel good about their skills, with over 90% confident they can perform their jobs at a high level. Workers also report feeling better about their ability to find a new job today than they were either two or five years ago, and many are optimistic about their company’s future. 

When it comes to available positions, workers are confident there are jobs that match their skills and experience (91%); meet their desired work-life balance (88%); and fit their long-term goals (84%). 

Despite murmurs of a possible economic downturn, respondents are overwhelmingly confident in their ability to meet milestones, with 93% believing they can achieve their one-year goals. Meanwhile, 88% are confident they’ll meet their five-year goals, and 90% believe they’ll meet career-long objectives. 

Confident employees make stronger, happier companies

The real impact of confidence stretches beyond the individual; confident workers also bring big rewards for employers. Nearly all workers (98%) say they perform better when they feel confident. This makes sense, since many foundational workplace skills, including work ethic, are driven by confidence.

What’s more, 96% of respondents are more likely to stay at a company when they feel confident. Teams and companies that support this skill and nurture it among employees can help reduce turnover. 

Better yet, our survey suggests confident employees can boost morale across the organization: 94% of respondents say they’re happier when they feel confident at work, and happiness can have a major impact on workplace culture.

Recognition, promotions and strong teams help build worker confidence

When it comes to shaping confidence across the workforce, some factors are outside a company’s control: For instance, confidence suffers when financial performance takes a dip or if management changes. However, the factors that most impact confidence are ones employers have a strong influence over. 

As ranked by respondents, the top five contributors to workers’ confidence in their career outlook are positive feedback from their managers, the company’s financial performance, pay increases, promotions and being part of a strong team or department. What’s more, feeling valued by their employers boosts confidence for nearly all workers (97%). 

Luckily, company leaders can build a culture of confidence that uplifts the entire organization. Our respondents say this starts with promoting strong managers who set the tone for their teams. Employers must also hire the right people for the right roles, recognize good work, offer learning and development opportunities, and provide a clear path for advancement for all employees. Finally, it’s important to clearly communicate the company’s goals and vision so everyone understands the work to be done.

Most of the issues that decrease worker confidence are personal problems, such as difficulties at home or health complications. Since these are an unfortunate part of life, employers should have clear processes to support employees during challenging times, such as flexible schedules or temporary leaves of absence. 

Today’s confidence boom brings big benefits for employers

We are in the midst of a confidence boom, with most respondents reporting overwhelming confidence in their abilities and career outlook. Since confident workers are happier, more productive and less likely to leave, the rising tide benefits teams and companies, too. 

Employers can — and should — nurture this quality across the workforce. Promote a company-wide culture of confidence by hiring and promoting strong managers, recognizing and supporting employees, prioritizing clear communication and offering opportunities for professional development and advancement.

We do our best work when we believe in ourselves, our work and our futures. Confidence is key to long-term success.