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An overwhelming majority of Zimbabweans would not advise their compatriots living and working abroad to consider returning home in the medium-term as the future of the economy remains hazy, according to a study by a leading consultancy firm.

The Industrial Psychology Consultants (IPC) Employee Confidence Report released on Thursday shows employee confidence levels in the future of the organisations they work for dropped to 39,16 percent in the second half of 2014 from 44,03 in the comparable period in 2013.

Nearly 700 employees drawn from 18 sectors of the Zimbabwean economy participated in the study, which looked at the extent to which employees believed the organisations they worked for were being effectively managed and competitively positioned.

It also considered job security and the employee assessment of the prevailing macro-economic conditions in the country.

The survey showed that most employees did not believe their jobs were secure and that there were very limited chances of them getting new jobs.

As a result, they advised millions of Zimbabweans living and working in the diaspora to "hold on" in the self-imposed exile for a while.

"When asked what they would advise their relatives in the diaspora: "hold –on, there is still a long way to go" or to "come back home now, employment opportunities are available, 93,60 percent of the respondents said they would not advise their relatives in diaspora to come back to Zimbabwe at the moment," read the report.

"Only 6,40 percent said they would advise their relatives to "come back home now," employment opportunities are available."

Zimbabwe's moribund economy has seen nearly 5,000 companies shutting down and over 64,000 employees losing their jobs in the last three years according to official data.

While the economy registered a growth of around three percent in 2014 and is envisaged to grow by 3,2 percent this year, the situation for most employees remains dire.

A dearth in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) due to inconsistent government policies and a largely unfriendly business environment has led to stagnation of the economy.

IPC said the highest employee confidence levels, at 60 percent, were registered during the days of the coalition government in 2010.

According to IPC's 2014 report, only one in 10 of the nearly 700 employees believed that Zimbabwe's economy was improving.

"88,40 percent said that the economy is not improving," said IPC, adding six out of 10 of the participants did not feel secure in their current jobs for variety of reasons, leading to stress.

"The dominant stress factor amongst Zimbabwean employees is job security," said IPC, adding that the survey reflected the situation in the broader economy.

"Resuscitating the economy will require all stakeholders: government, employers and employees to work together," the consultants said.

"With such low confidence levels, turning around the economy will be more difficult than we expected." - the source

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