The American Workplace: Still the Great Uniter

The results of a recent Jobvite study of the workforce shows that one space where Americans are still somewhat unified is the workplace. The findings shed light on emerging trends and highlight some key areas where there are no surprises.

One key trend is that we are in the age of the “Hyper Hopper”—with job satisfaction rates on the decline (64% in 2017 vs. 74% in 2016), nearly half of job seekers are changing jobs at least every five years, particularly younger people, single people, and those who earn less than $25,000/year.

So what are workers doing about their waning job satisfaction? They are taking more time to investigate their worth, accepting interviews, and sampling the options.

Many of the expected findings are related to the increasingly disappearing lines between working hours and off hours:

  • 45% of respondents check their email after hours on a daily basis, with more than half of young professionals doing so.
  • Referrals are still considered a stronger source of talent than job boards.
  • Job seekers are always working—many have a “side hustle” because they need the money. It’s often freelance work, particularly for those in the tech industry. While after hours gigs like driving for Uber or creating an online store are getting a lot of press, they are still small, albeit growing, secondary sources of income.
  • Despite demonstrated benefits, fewer than half of job seekers are negotiating salary, especially those with lower paying jobs.

These blurring lines are contributing to the perks and benefits that workers are seeking:

  • Health insurance is still the most sought-after benefit, followed closely by 401-k and bonuses.
  • Less important are perks such as food, volunteer time, and pet-friendly offices.

And behavioral boundaries are breaking down

  • Previously frowned-upon actions like criticizing co-workers, coming in hungover, or swearing in front of superiors are happening more often.
  •  Office relationships are increasingly common.
  • Workers are spending time on their side hustles on the job.

Parental leave is considered a luxury

  • College-educated, higher earning women are most likely to take leave, and more than half of them took 6-12 weeks.
  • Cost and workload were most often cited as reasons for opting out.

Among the surprises:

  • While Facebook and LinkedIn are still the top draws for company research, younger workers use Instagram to gain insight into company culture and workplace life.
  • Cover letters are becoming increasingly irrelevant to the application process. Applicants aren’t using them and recruiters aren’t holding it against them.

Bringing it Together

What do these findings mean for leaders?

  • The more things change…Long-standing must-haves such as health insurance and bonuses are still in demand among job seekers.
  • Social media matters. Unsurprisingly, companies who want to attract younger talent will need to commit resources to curating their online presence. Find out how to use this outlet as a PR boost.
  • Be prepared to share your employees’ time. Workers are spending more off-hours time on the job, but the blurring lines also mean people are spending more time on non-work activities and second jobs. Be prepared to accept some trade-offs or establish tougher policies around work time.
  • Your staff is continually on the lookout. Even those who aren’t actively seeking new opportunities are taking interviews and learning about their market value. Find the silver lining in this by keeping communication with employees open to determine what is important to keeping them around.

Are these findings consistent with your impressions? What is your company doing to attract and retain the best and the brightest?