The ranks of umbrella companies across the UK could shortly start to swell if trends uncovered in a new survey from the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) continue for much longer.

The CIPD’s spring 2011 Employee Outlook survey reveals that employee confidence in their future job security and their trust in senior leaders has plummeted to record lows. 2,000 employees across the UK were included in the survey.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the lowest scores for employee confidence were found amongst public sector workers, just under a third of whom reported that they were insecure about their job prospects over the coming twelve months. The figure fell to slightly less than one fifth in the private sector, where employees appear to be slightly more optimistic. Overall, the study registered a slight rise of 1 per cent in the numbers of employees expressing significant concern about their job security, taking the overall figure to 21 per cent.

Trust in managers and employers has taken a fall, too. The CIPD’s Net Trust Score is calculated by subtracting the number of people who lack confidence in their seniors from those who still have some faith in them. The latest figure has dropped 2 points from the previous survey to -8, which the CIPD sees as a significant fall.

These trends could well lead more people toward flexible working alternatives to permanent employment, including becoming PAYE umbrella contractors. This could be a mixed blessing – if it encourages more employers to adopt the contracting model as a means of staffing this could be good, but it could auger a tricky time for existing contractors if the market gets too crowded.

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