Press Release Archive
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.—November 15, 2001 – According to a recent “Mood of the American Workforce” survey taken in the weeks following the September 11th attacks, U.S. workers were found to be more loyal, more satisfied and pleased with employer response to the terrorist attacks. The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive and Spherion Corporation, also shows that workers’ fears of being laid off or fired have doubled since 1999.
The economic downturn and volume of layoffs in the past months, coupled with the devastating incidents of September 11, have resulted in noticeably higher worker anxiety. The number of workers who say it is “very likely” they will be let go or fired has doubled from 4 percent in 1999 to 8 percent in October 2001. Overall, 18 percent of workers said it was likely they would be laid off, compared to 11 percent in 1999.
Another interesting finding of the poll showed that there was a sizeable number of employers who helped their employees cope with their stress and fears after the Sept. 11 attacks. Forty-three percent of workers said their employers did something to help them after the attacks, and of those, 85 percent said their employer did an excellent or good job.
“Our findings indicate that employers did a great job at helping their employees through the confusing time of the terrorist attacks, and this is indicative of the new role that managers and employers have taken on,” said Robert Morgan, president of the Human Capital Consulting Group of Spherion. “We see that employers have realized the importance of providing assistance for their employees in situations that extend beyond the workplace.”
Worker loyalty has jumped dramatically compared to 1999, when 50 percent of workers said it was likely (“very likely” or “somewhat likely”) they would choose to change jobs in the next five years. In this most recent poll taken in mid-October, that number dropped to 42 percent. The most remarkable change was among workers who said they were “very likely” to leave their current employer in the next five years, down from 32 percent in 1999 to 24 percent in 2001.
There were some deviations from this trend, particularly among younger workers who continue to see themselves as “free agents.” Among 18-24 year olds, 42 percent said they were “very likely” to leave their job in the next five years, equal to the same percentage of those who responded as “very likely” or “somewhat likely.” While 60 percent of 18-24 year olds said it was likely they would leave their job in the next five years, the trend declined as age increased, with a mere 29 percent of workers over 50 saying they would change.
At the same time, there has been a sizeable shift in worker satisfaction. A record 94 percent of workers described themselves as satisfied, compared with 90 percent in 1997. The largest shift was among those who described themselves as “very satisfied,” tallying 58 percent in October 2001, compared to 54 percent in 1999.
“The dramatic battle for talent over the last five years has caused employers to recognize the true value of their employees. During that time, employers have sharpened their focus and resources toward employee retention, an effort that has clearly paid off with higher levels of employee loyalty and job satisfaction,” added Morgan. “With job satisfaction at 94 percent, it is very important for employers to maintain the services and assistance that is desired by their employees even with a high rate of unemployment in the current economy. When a stronger market emerges, dissatisfied employees will once again have ample opportunity to find jobs with open-armed competitors.”
Satisfaction also varied by geography, age and ethnic demographics. Workers in the West felt the most satisfied, with almost two out of three responding as “very satisfied” (64 percent). Results for those in the South (59 percent) and
This issue of The Harris Poll was conducted by telephone within the , between October 17 and 22, 2001, and among a nationwide cross section of 656 working adults. Figures for age, sex, race, education, number of adults and number of voice/telephone lines in the household were weighted where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population.
In theory, with a probability sample of this size, one can say with 95 percent certainty that the results have a statistical precision of plus or minus 3 percentage points of what they would be if the entire adult population had been polled with complete accuracy. Unfortunately, there are several other possible sources of error in all polls or surveys that are probably more serious than theoretical calculations of sampling error. They include refusals to be interviewed (non-response), question wording and question order, interviewer bias, weighting by demographic control data and screening (e.g., for likely voters). It is difficult or impossible to quantify the errors that may result from these factors.
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