Worker Insights Survey

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Methodology & Background

This survey explores attitudes and perceptions of working Americans on the importance of work/life balance, compensation, and workplace behaviors.

This report presents the findings of a telephone survey conducted among a nationally representative sample of 507 working adults 18 years of age and older, living in the United States.  Interviewing for this survey was completed on February 8-12, 2014. The margin of error for this study is +/- 4.35%.

Key findings: Working Americans Need An Improvement In Salary And Work Life Balance

Working Americans stay focused on the basics making more money and having a greater work life balance.

Working Americans put salary and work/life balance above all other career goals they’d like to accomplish in 2014. Approximately half (53 percent) of Americans say they hope to get a raise, followed by 45 percent who would like better balance between their work and personal life.

Other career goals that Americans hope to achieve include getting promoted (26 percent), getting a new job (23 percent), networking more effectively (22 percent) and improving their relationship with their boss (15 percent).

  • Millennials have ambitious plans for their careers in 2014. They are much more likely to want a promotion (43 percent compared to 30 percent of Gen X and 17 percent of Boomers) and raise than other generations (67 percent compared to 58 percent of Gen X and 44 percent of Boomers respectively).
  • Interestingly males were not only more likely than their female counterparts to want a promotion (33 percent compared to 21 percent) but they are also more ambitious to achieve a better work life/balance (50 percent compared to 41 percent).

Americans feel the biggest obstacle to achieving their career goals is the lack of openings for senior roles in their current workplace – just over one quarter (27 percent) do not believe there is upward mobility within their company.

  • Other obstacles to achieving 2014 career goals include a lack of motivation / being disengaged with their current job (15 percent) followed by a lack of support from their manager (13 percent), lack of company sponsored training (13 percent), and limited personal qualifications (9 percent).
  • Interestingly, younger generations are more likely to be unmotivated than their older counterparts – 21 percent of Millennials and 20 percent of Gen X report feeling this way, while only 11 percent of Boomers feel unmotivated in their current position.

Not All Working Americans Get To Enjoy Their Paid Time Off

Just because you have time off doesn’t mean you can take it! Not all Americans are able to enjoy their vacation/paid time off to its fullest – many find themselves connecting back to the job.

One quarter (26 percent) of working Americans who receive paid time off struggle to use all of their allotted time off during the year. 

  • Nearly four in 10 (37 percent) working Americans have had to work or stay connected during a vacation or paid time off.
  • Nine in 10 (89 percent) Americans who’ve had to work during a vacation or paid time off admit to having had checked their work email or made work related calls (70 percent) or participate in meetings in-person (25 percent).
  • Two in 10 (22 percent) working Americans have had to cut their vacation or paid time off short as result of work demands.

American workers who don’t disconnect during their personal time off plan other ways to get their time back!

Two in 10 (22 percent) working Americans admit to planning to either come to work late or leave early when they know their boss is going to be out of the office.

  • Interestingly, those who have had to work during their personal vacation time are much more likely to plan to come to work late or leave early when they know their boss is going to be out than those who do not work on their vacation time (36 percent compared with 13 percent).  

Working Americans are watching their coworkers carefully and judging them on their work habits.

Three in 10 (28 percent) working Americans admit to judging co-workers who either come to work later or leave earlier than they do.

  • And those who have worked on their vacation or paid time off are much more likely to judge their colleagues for coming in late or leaving early (37 percent compared to 21 percent who have not worked on their paid time off).
  • Interestingly though, Millennial workers (38 percent) are most likely to judge their colleagues when they come in late or leave early compared with 31 percent of Gen X workers and 22 percent of Boomers.

Millennials Approach Work Differently Than Other Generations

Despite ambitious career goals for 2014, Millennials are most likely to be guilty of showing up late to work when compared to other age groups.

One in five (22 percent) Americans admit to sometimes being late for work; most commonly about two to three times per month.

  • Gender plays a part in tardiness at the workplace – 26 percent of women admit to sometimes being late for work, while only 18 percent of men admit to the same.
  • When it comes to age, Millennials are by far the most likely to be late in the workplace – 32 percent report being sometimes late for work, while only 22 percent of Gen X and 19 percent of Boomers report the same.

Transportation trouble is the number one cause of Americans arriving late to the workplace with 35 percent citing this reason. Other causes for being late include:

  • Oversleeping or having trouble getting out of bed (23 percent)
  • Juggling home or family responsibilities (22 percent)
  • Finding an appropriate outfit or getting dressed (7 percent)
  • Not liking their job (5 percent)

Whining About Your Job Is A Major Turnoff In The Workplace

Stop Complaining! American workers are most annoyed by colleagues who whine about their job. 

Working Americans are most commonly (37 percent) annoyed by colleagues who complain about their work.  Compare this with those who are annoyed by colleagues who leave common spaces messy (30 percent), talk excessively loud (26 percent), and come to work sick (21 percent).

  • Men are more likely to be annoyed than woman by colleagues who complain about working (44 versus 31 percent).
  • And, those who have worked during their vacation are more likely than those who have not to cite complaining about work as annoying (43 percent versus 33 percent).

Brown bagging it doesn’t always add up!

One in five (22 percent) working Americans say they have had food taken out of a communal refrigerator yet only 4 percent report taking their colleagues’ food.

Working Americans Need An Improvement In Salary And Work Life Balance

Not All Working Americans Get To Enjoy Their Paid Time Off

Millennials Approach Work Differently Than Other Generations

Whining About Your Job Is A Major Turnoff In The Workplace

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