New Spherion Study Finds Recession Has Eroded Workers' Relationships with Their Boss, Not Much to Celebrate This Bosses' Day

Oct 13, 2010, 09:49 ET from Spherion Staffing Services

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., Oct. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- A surprising aftershock from the economic recession is emerging this bosses day, with nearly half (45 percent) of U.S. workers indicating their relationship with their boss has been affected by the recession, according to the most recent Spherion Staffing Services Snapshot survey. Furthermore, of those who say their relationship with their boss has been affected, 74 percent of these workers say the recession has weakened their relationship with their boss negatively.  

The 2010 Boss Day Survey conducted by Monster on behalf of Spherion Staffing, also found that more than one-third of workers (34 percent) say they are somewhat or very dissatisfied with their relationship with their boss.

Bosses Offer Little Support in Career Development, With Many Undermining Their Workers

Not only are many bosses falling short in supporting their employees' career development, in many cases they are hindering their progress. The study found that 38 percent of workers indicated their boss is somewhat or very uncaring when it comes to their career development, with 27 percent saying that their boss's attitude about their career development has changed since the recession.  

More alarming, nearly half of workers (45 percent) say their boss has taken credit for their work, and another 37 percent say their boss has "thrown them under the bus" to save himself/herself.

Eroding Trust in Bosses

Many workers believe their bosses have not been entirely honest and forthright about job security, and in many cases feel little respect from their manager. According to the study, one out of four workers feels their boss is somewhat or very dishonest about their job security, and more than half (53 percent) feels their boss doesn't respect them as a professional equal.

And, many employees lack confidence in discussing sensitive or unethical issues with their managers. The study found 46 percent of workers say they don't think they can freely and openly discuss unethical workplace issues with their boss, and 44 percent say they can't confide about sensitive or confidential workplace issues.

"At a time when workers arguably need added support and guidance to offset the uncertainties that come with a shaky economy, many bosses simply aren't stepping up to the plate," says Loretta Penn, President, Spherion Staffing Services.  "Managers need to create an environment that fosters open and direct communication, offers unwavering support for workers, and demonstrates commitment to career development. Unfortunately, many of today's bosses simply aren't delivering on this responsibility."  

Workers Have Little Admiration, Respect for Bosses' Jobs

Perhaps most surprising of all, only 34 percent of workers would accept their bosses' job if it were offered to them, with a full 40 percent saying they would not accept their bosses' job. When it comes to performance on the job, many employees feel they can do it better.

According to the study, 44 percent of employees feel they could do a better job than their boss, and 61 percent believe they possess better management qualities than their boss. These are perhaps contributing to the lack of loyalty workers have towards their bosses. When asked if they would join their boss if they were to move to another company and were offered the chance to join them, 43 percent said no and another 35 percent said they did not know.  

"The relationship between supervisors and their employees plays a significant role in overall job satisfaction," says Penn.  "With nearly all aspects of the labor market and workplace on shaky ground, companies cannot afford to employ unengaged workers or to log increased turnover costs – two very likely outcomes if workers remain dissatisfied and discouraged with their bosses."


The October 2010 Spherion Bosses Day Workforce survey was conducted online within the United States by Monster Worldwide on behalf of Spherion Staffing Services between September 29 and October 7, 2010 among a U.S. sample of 231 working adults, aged 20 years and older. Respondents represent those invited to participate in the survey, which includes full and part-time workers.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Monster feels the use of "margin of error" is misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published surveys come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were randomly selected from among those who have agreed to receive communication from Monster, so no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About Spherion Staffing Services

Spherion Staffing Services is a leading recruiting and staffing provider that specializes in placing administrative, clerical, customer service and light industrial candidates in temporary and full-time opportunities. As an industry pioneer for more than 60 years, Spherion has sourced, screened and placed millions of individuals in virtually every industry through a network of offices across the United States and Canada.

Spherion Staffing Services is a division of SFN Group, Inc. SFN operates a family of specialty businesses providing strategic workforce solutions in professional services and general staffing. To learn more, please visit

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