2014

StrategyOne Labor Day Public Opinion Survey on the American Worker: Nearly Two-Thirds of Working Americans Seriously Doubt They'll Be Able to Ever Retire

Americans are mostly satisfied with their work, but many fear taking time off from their jobs and feel disconnected from their companies

NEW YORK, Sept. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Most American workers are satisfied with their jobs, but nearly two in three have strong doubts about being able to eventually stop working and retire, according to a recent StrategyOne public opinion survey of 1,043 Americans, including 613 who work either full- or part-time.

The vast majority of 613 employed Americans who were surveyed describe themselves as satisfied with their jobs (82%) and report they get satisfaction from their work (80%).  About three out of four (72%) also said they enjoy where they work and look forward to coming to work every day.

Equally high percentages of workers said they feel respected by their bosses (83%) and feel their boss respects their work (82%). Co-workers also got high marks, with three out of four Americans (74%) saying their colleagues are among the best things about where they work.

But this rosy picture of the workplace belies underlying concerns, many related to the unsettled economy.

Nearly 2 in 3 (64%) believe that realistically they won't ever be able to stop working and retire, and the uncertainty of the long-term picture may help explain the divide among American workers over whether they believe they labor at a job (52%) or in a long-term career (48%).

The current economic downturn has produced a situation where almost half (46%) of workers have had their wages or salaries reduced over the past couple of years, and a similar segment are concerned about losing their jobs (44%) or having their hours cut back (48%).

About four in 10 workers (37%) describe themselves as underemployed and say they are not working as many hours as they would like because there is not enough work available at their current jobs.  Meanwhile, a similar percentage of workers (40%) say that their bosses expect them to work extra hours without raises or additional compensation.

"While employed Americans on the whole enjoy their work and get satisfaction from it, there is a real sense that the retirement 'light at the end of the tunnel' may not be there for them," said Bradley Honan, senior vice president of StrategyOne.

The StrategyOne survey also found that a surprising number of workers are disconnected from the mission of their company.  One-third of American workers (35%) report not caring much about their company and say they are mainly there to get a paycheck, and 38% report not knowing what the main mission of their organization is, other than making money.  More than half (56%) say they would be interested in leaving their job if they could get the same compensation elsewhere.

"With extensive market competition in every industry, it's absolutely imperative that companies engage their entire workforce in their mission to achieve their business goals and objectives," said Honan.  "Employees must see their jobs as more than just collecting a paycheck, and it's up to their employers to make sure that's the case."

The StrategyOne Labor Day American Worker survey also provides several other insights into Americans and their work:

Work Vs: Life

  • The vast majority of the workforce (78%) describes themselves as working to live — compared to 22% who say work is their top priority in life – the so called "workaholics" in our society.

Taking a day off:

  • One-quarter of workers (26%) say they fear being fired if they take a day off, although nearly half strongly disagree with that suggestion.

Web surfing at work:

  • While they may not be taking days off, many American workers admit to surfing the Web while at work: 40% for at least one hour a day and 28% for at least two hours a day. Social media is a big draw, with 29% saying they spend at least one hour of their day using such sites and checking on what other people are doing.

Communications with their boss:

  • Almost 82% of workers say they communicate well with their bosses, but companies have some work to do.  Almost half (44%) say their companies put corporate "values" on the wall that are mostly meaningless to them.

Company meetings:

  • Close to half (49%) agree with the following statement: "Most meetings that I go to at the company where I work are a waste of time."

Survey Methodology:

StrategyOne conducted 1,043 online interviews among a representative sampling of Americans between August 20 and 23, 2010.  613 of those interviews were conducted among full-or part-time employees.  The margin of sampling error at the 95% level of confidence for the worker population is = +/- 3.96% overall and larger for subgroups. Statistical weights were designed from the United States Census Bureau statistics. 

About StrategyOne:

StrategyOne, a Daniel J. Edelman company, employs custom public opinion research and secondary research methodologies to deliver strategic counsel to corporate, organizational and governmental clients globally. With offices in Atlanta, Chicago, London, New York, Paris, San Mateo, Washington, D.C. and Abu Dhabi we provide global clients with evidence based stakeholder insights, analysis and measurement. Visit www.strategyone.net for more information

Full Question Texts & Survey Data:

Question:  How satisfied are you with your current job?


Answer

August 2010

Total Satisfied

82%

Very satisfied

36%

Somewhat satisfied

46%

Total Not Satisfied

19%

Not very satisfied

14%

Not at all satisfied

5%




* Asked of those who are employed (either full time or part time)

Question:  Realistically I don't believe that I will ever be able to stop working and retire.


Answer

August 2010

Total Agree

64%

Strongly agree

28%

Somewhat agree

36%

Total Disagree

36%

Somewhat disagree

23%

Strongly disagree

13%




* Asked of those who are employed (either full time or part time)

Question: I get satisfaction from my work.


Answer

August 2010

Total Agree

80%

Strongly agree

35%

Somewhat agree

45%

Total Disagree

20%

Somewhat disagree

15%

Strongly disagree

5%




* Asked of those who are employed (either full time or part time)

Question: I enjoy where I work and look forward to coming in every day.


Answer

August 2010

Total Agree

72%

Strongly agree

26%

Somewhat agree

46%

Total Disagree

27%

Somewhat disagree

20%

Strongly disagree

7%




* Asked of those who are employed (either full time or part time)

Question: My boss respects me and I respect him or her.


Answer

August 2010

Total Agree

83%

Strongly agree

42%

Somewhat agree

41%

Total Disagree

17%

Somewhat disagree

12%

Strongly disagree

5%




* Asked of those who are employed (either full time or part time)

Question: My boss respects the work I do.


Answer

August 2010

Total Agree

82%

Strongly agree

39%

Somewhat agree

43%

Total Disagree

19%

Somewhat disagree

14%

Strongly disagree

5%




* Asked of those who are employed (either full time or part time)

Question: My co-workers are one of the best things about where I work.


Answer

August 2010

Total Agree

74%

Strongly agree

25%

Somewhat agree

49%

Total Disagree

27%

Somewhat disagree

19%

Strongly disagree

8%




* Asked of those who are employed (either full time or part time)

Question: Do you view your current employment as just a job or do you view it as a long term career?


Answer

August 2010

Job

52%

Long Term Career

48%




* Asked of those who are employed (either full time or part time)

Question: Over the past couple years, I have had my wages or salary reduced.


Answer

August 2010

Total Agree

46%

Strongly agree

23%

Somewhat agree

23%

Total Disagree

55%

Somewhat disagree

19%

Strongly disagree

36%




* Asked of those who are employed (either full time or part time)

Question: How concerned are you about being laid off or losing a job?


Answer

August 2010

Total Concerned

44%

Very concerned

12%

Somewhat concerned

32%

Total Not Concerned

56%

Not very concerned

32%

Not concerned at all

24%




* Asked of those who are employed (either full time or part time)

Question: How concerned are you about having your hours or salary cut back? Are you...


Answer

August 2010

Total Concerned

48%

Very concerned

18%

Somewhat concerned

30%

Total Not Concerned

53%

Not very concerned

28%

Not concerned at all

25%




* Asked of those who are employed (either full time or part time)

Question: Underemployment is when you are employed but you have high skill levels in low-wage jobs that do not require such abilities OR you aren't working as many hours as you would like to.

Would you say that you are underemployed?


Answer

August 2010

Yes

37%

No

63%




* Asked of those who are employed (either full time or part time)

Question: My boss expects me to work extra hours without a raise or additional compensation.


Answer

August 2010

Total Agree

40%

Strongly agree

16%

Somewhat agree

24%

Total Disagree

61%

Somewhat disagree

25%

Strongly disagree

36%




* Asked of those who are employed (either full time or part time)

Question: Honestly, I don't care too much about the company where I work.  I am mainly there to get my paycheck.


Answer

August 2010

Total Agree

35%

Strongly agree

13%

Somewhat agree

22%

Total Disagree

65%

Somewhat disagree

27%

Strongly disagree

38%




* Asked of those who are employed (either full time or part time)

Question:  I am really not sure what the mission of my company is other than to make money.


Answer

August 2010

Total Agree

38%

Strongly agree

12%

Somewhat agree

26%

Total Disagree

60%

Somewhat disagree

27%

Strongly disagree

33%




* Asked of those who are employed (either full time or part time)

Question:  How interested would you be in leaving your job if you could get the same compensation elsewhere?


Answer

August 2010

Total Agree

56%

Strongly agree

21%

Somewhat agree

35%

Total Disagree

44%

Somewhat disagree

27%

Strongly disagree

17%




* Asked of those who are employed (either full time or part time)

Question: Which of the following best describes you?


Answer

August 2010

I live in order to work, work is my biggest priority in life

22%

I work to live, my non-work life is my biggest priority in life

78%




* Asked of those who are employed (either full time or part time)

Question: I am fearful that by taking off a day from work, my boss might fire me.


Answer

August 2010

Total Agree

26%

Strongly agree

8%

Somewhat agree

18%

Total Disagree

74%

Somewhat disagree

25%

Strongly disagree

49%




* Asked of those who are employed (either full time or part time)

Question: I spend at least one hour of my work day surfing the Internet.


Answer

August 2010

Total Agree

40%

Strongly agree

17%

Somewhat agree

23%

Total Disagree

60%

Somewhat disagree

18%

Strongly disagree

42%




* Asked of those who are employed (either full time or part time)

Question: I spend more than two hours of my work day surfing the Internet.


Answer

August 2010

Total Agree

28%

Strongly agree

11%

Somewhat agree

17%

Total Disagree

72%

Somewhat disagree

22%

Strongly disagree

50%




* Asked of those who are employed (either full time or part time)

Question: I spend at least one hour of my work day using social media and seeing what people are up to.


Answer

August 2010

Total Agree

29%

Strongly agree

11%

Somewhat agree

18%

Total Disagree

71%

Somewhat disagree

21%

Strongly disagree

50%




* Asked of those who are employed (either full time or part time)

Question: My boss and I communicate well with one another.


Answer

August 2010

Total Agree

82%

Strongly agree

34%

Somewhat agree

48%

Total Disagree

17%

Somewhat disagree

12%

Strongly disagree

5%




* Asked of those who are employed (either full time or part time)

Question: My company where I work puts the corporate "values" on the wall, but it really doesn't mean anything.


Answer

August 2010

Total Agree

44%

Strongly agree

14%

Somewhat agree

30%

Total Disagree

55%

Somewhat disagree

33%

Strongly disagree

22%




* Asked of those who are employed (either full time or part time)

Question: Most meetings that I go to at the company where I work are a waste of time.


Answer

August 2010

Total Agree

49%

Strongly agree

16%

Somewhat agree

33%

Total Disagree

51%

Somewhat disagree

31%

Strongly disagree

20%




* Asked of those who are employed (either full time or part time)

SOURCE StrategyOne



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