It doesn't matter if you're making the minimum wage flipping hamburgers in a fast-food place or $100,000 as an executive in a large company, security could be the most important factor of employment.

Employers can provide all types of bonuses and benefits, but if the company is one step away from going under and turning dozens of employees into the streets, the lack of job security could be a wearing factor on a person's performance.Knowing you have a steady income so you can support your family contributes to peace of mind and steady work performance.

Are Americans secure in their jobs?

Brooks International, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., a management consulting firm, tells us that a majority of Americans they recently surveyed don't feel secure in their jobs.

Brooks surveyed 11,128 employees from 12 major companies in heavy process manufacturing, food processing, transportation, insurance, telecommunications and utilities and 55 percent disagreed with the statement, "We're all fairly sure our jobs will be here for years to come."

Another 21 were uncertain, and only 24 percent of those surveyed expressed confidence in the future of their jobs.

Interestingly, the survey shows this uncertainty isn't due to a lack of regard for the company because 72 percent said they were proud to be associated with the company. Forty-three percent of the respondents said outside competition makes them worry about the future of their organization.

George Bubrick, Brooks president, said, "Trust is a critical factor in dealing with change. The lower it is, the more resistance to change employees will exhibit. Insecurity about the future and the mistrust it signals are real handicaps in achieving change-oriented goals."

The survey also indicates that another reason for employee insecurity is a lack of confidence in upper management "to steer us in a successful direction." Only 36 percent of the respondents have confidence in upper management, 35 percent don't and 29 percent are uncertain.

Richard E. Kristensen, Brooks executive vice president, said, "Employees at all levels (including middle manager) see upper management behaving with an almost exclusively short-term focus.

"Add to this short-term focus the fact that less than one-third of our survey respondents feel the various departments in their organization work cooperatively together to achieve common goals, and it is little wonder that employees feel insecure about the leadership they are provided," he said.