Reality Bites: Are Employees Disconnected from Market Realities?

Reality Bites: Are Employees Disconnected from Market Realities?

It’s the first full week of 2009 and what’s on employees’ minds?  We were curious so we conducted a year-end survey with our friends at Harris Interactive to find out what employees are thinking about a variety of topics that affect our lives — layoffs, compensation, the future.  You can read our advisory with a summary of findings here, but we’ve added a bit more perspective below.  Overall, we were struck that there is an undercurrent of high employee confidence that runs counter to headlines and market realities of late. We’d love your opinions and thoughts on the findings.  Have people been living on an island? Or is it just a basic case of denial?

Little Concern about Layoffs

It’s hard to turn anywhere these days without hearing something about layoffs. Maybe you know someone who’s been laid off or maybe you know 10, but it feels like the effects are everywhere. In fact, we continue to see increases in the frequency reviews are coming in with the word “layoff.”   We did this original analysis in November.  Today the percentage of reviews with the word “lay off” is hovering around six percent.

That’s why we found results from a recent survey so interesting – While more than half (52%) of employees admit they are working harder to avoid layoffs, 4 out of 5 employees say they have no concerns about being laid off in the next 6 months. The world is collapsing, but only 2 out of 10 people in a room are concerned they may lose their jobs?    Interesting.

But when it comes to coworkers, more employees are concerned the jobs of others in their company may be in jeopardy – 42 percent are concerned other employees may lose their job in the next 6 months.

Just Say No to Pay Cuts

OK so if layoffs aren’t a looming concern at the moment, let’s just say you did discover your job was in jeopardy?  What would you do to keep it?  If you’re like the majority of employees surveyed, you’d be willing to take on more projects and responsibilities and work longer hours but not willing to take a pay cut, forfeit vacation or take an unpaid leave.  In order to keep their jobs, employees would be willing to:

  • 74% take on more projects or responsibility
  • 60% increase amount of hours worked
  • 46% give up perks like commuter subsidies, on-site cafeteria, child care, dry cleaner, gym access
  • 32% accept a reduction in health and dental benefits coverage
  • 30% accept a cut in salary or wages
  • 24% forfeit paid time off or vacation
  • 24% take an unpaid leave or sabbatical

Pay Out Pending? Compensation Outlook Varies by Gender

We’re always extremely curious about salaries and compensation but we’re also curious about expectations so we asked. If you’re like us, you’ll find this interesting:

  • 57% expect a bonus (of those eligible in December) and of those the majority expect the bonus will be the same or more than their last bonus. See how it breaks down for those who expect a bonus:
    • 41% expect it to be about the same as last bonus
    • 28% expect it to be less than last bonus
    • 15% expect it to be more than last bonus
    • 16% are unsure of the amount
  • 40% expect a raise in the next 12 months, equally split with those who don’t (40%) and 20 percent are unsure.

Men have more optimism for the outlook for base bay than women, 46% of men think they will get a raise in the next 12 months compared to 35% of women.  However, the converse is true for bonuses.  More men expect to get less bonus this year than women.

Interestingly, Hewitt recently released a report that predicts 7 million Americans will see the lowest pay raises in decades. Maybe the employee memos haven’t gone out yet.

Stay tuned for some commentary from our Glassdoor workplace expert Rusty Rueff.

Categories: Glassdoor Updates

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