After years of feeling that their job could be swept out from under them at any moment, the large majority of employees now feel confident in their standing around the office, a study finds.

Heading into 2013, a survey by Randstad revealed 72 percent of employees felt secure in their own job security, compared with 70 percent a month earlier and a low of 66 percent in 2011.

In addition to their confidence that they will hold onto their jobs, employees were more optimistic about the outlook of their companies. Nearly 60 percent of those surveyed remained confident in the future of their employers.

"As various economic events occurred around us, such as the presidential election, economic conditions abroad and severe weather events, workers remained surprisingly confident throughout it all," said Randstad US managing director of human resources Jim Link. "Even in the midst of fiscal cliff negotiations, employees believe employers' businesses are stabilizing and more jobs will become available in 2013."

In general, the research shows that employees' confidence in both the economy as a whole and the number of available jobs is increasing. In December, 31 percent of employees felt the economy was getting stronger, one of the highest readings all year. Meanwhile, 23 percent believed there were more jobs available, up from 20 percent in November.

Overall, Randstad's Employee Confidence Index, which measures employee insights on jobs, the economy, and their personal employment situation, increased 3.7 points in December, ending the year with one of the highest levels of optimism recorded over the last 12 months.  

"We anticipate businesses' desire for a more variable work force to increase heading into next year, and workers' desire to 'work smarter' and carve out their own career paths to increase," Link said. "The most forward-looking employers are using this time to re-evaluate what motivates and retains their top performers before it's too late."

The study was based on a survey of 1,762 employed adults.

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