Work Trends Surveys
A series of Work Trends surveys examined American workers’ opinions about their work-life balance and feelings about the economy. Disquiet about the economy and uncertainty of the future were expressed in Anxious American Worker. Overall job satisfaction remained high at the time of the survey, though the positive number masked underlying concerns such as work life and hours worked. At a Crossroads examined concerns about the state of the economy on the eve of the 2004 presidential election.
In 2002, the Heldrich Center conducted a survey of American workers on their views related to the contentious issue of discrimination in the workplace. The survey examined how workers perceive and experience discrimination, as well as what they expect government and employers to do about discrimination in the workplace. Survey respondents described two very different workplaces. Whites described a workplace where equitable treatment is accorded to all, few personally experience discrimination, and few offer support for policies to correct past discrimination.
Since its inception, the Heldrich Center has conducted extensive research on the employment of people with disabilities, including a Work Trends survey of employers. The survey revealed employers’ views on people with disabilities in the workplace, the accommodation of these workers, and policies needed to increase workplace accessibility for all workers and job seekers. According to the survey, employers perceived a workplace in which people with disabilities were woefully underrepresented despite the significant number of people with disabilities who can and want to work.
In 2011, the Heldrich Center conducted a nationally representative survey of 571 graduates from four-year colleges and universities from the classes of 2006 through 2010 to examine the difficulties young people encountered as they entered a volatile labor market. The survey yielded several notable findings. While graduates are satisfied with their decision to complete a four-year degree, a large percentage reported they are struggling to find full-time, permanent jobs with benefits that will lead to fulfilling careers.
This 2009 Work Trends survey found the American worker in a state of deep distress due to the economic downturn. Many of those in the labor force either believe the U.S. economy is in a depression, or think the economic problems indicate the economy is undergoing fundamental and lasting changes. Job losses are widespread. A significant portion of workers say they have been laid off from a full- or part-time job in the past three years, or have seen colleagues get laid off. Meanwhile, many express their lack of confidence in the American banking system.