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3 May, 2013

Harris Poll: U.S. Workers Increasingly Worried about Pay, Perks & Prospects


NEW YORK, May 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — American workers are increasingly worried about their income and benefits security, as well as their employability, with aggregated concerns regarding these issues showing a slight increase since last month (from 56% in March to 57% in April).

This combined measure shows a strong and increasing concern, particularly among older and higher income workers, while individual concerns show more dramatic month-to-month shifts among all workers. These are among the findings of the recently-introduced Harris Poll Jobs and Benefits Security Index, which provides a score that is measured monthly to track the changing sentiment of today’s American workers.

The Harris Poll Jobs and Benefits Security Index offers an internal view into today’s American workplace by reporting on the job/benefits security pulse of the worker. The online survey of 935 American workers was conducted between April 15 and 17, 2013 by The Harris Poll (full findings and data tables available here). Key findings include:

  • More U.S. workers (50% March – 53% April) expect to do more work without getting more money in the next three months;
  • More U.S. workers (20% March – 24% April) expect to have their salary or hours reduced in the next three months;
  • Less U.S. workers (61% March – 55% April) believe that if they were going to look for a new job, they would be able to find one;
  • And, less U.S. workers believe they will get a raise from their employer (35% March – 29% April) or receive better retirement benefits (18% March – 13% April) in the next three months.

Looking at the aggregated Jobs and Benefits Security Index measurement, findings of particular note are that:

  • U.S. workers with an annual household income of $50,000-$74,999 (58% March-62% April) are both the most concerned income group, and the group showing the sharpest month-over-month rise in concern. Those with incomes of $75,000 or more also show notable growth in concerns (56% March-59% April).
  • U.S. workers ages 55 and older (60% March-63% April) are, in an echo of the trend above, the age group showing both the greatest overall concern and the most prominent growth in this measure.

Harris Interactive President and Chief Executive Officer Al Angrisani, also the former Assistant Secretary of Labor under President Reagan, asserts that “The Harris Poll Jobs and Benefits Security Index points to a rise in worker insecurity about their income, benefits and employability this past month. Specifically, workers are more pessimistic about the likelihood of finding a job if they need to look for one, as well as the likelihood of seeing a benefits improvement.”

“Escalation in the index also speaks to structural changes occurring in today’s workplace, with employers seeking growth in worker productivity, at the expense of hiring a new full time employee with increasing tax and benefits costs,” continues Angrisani. “Recruiting and hiring talent and new employees appears to have become a major investment consideration for employers and this new phenomenon is contributing to an increase in job ‘insecurity’ within corporate America.”

Attentive readers may notice that the study was fielded in the wake of the tragic bombing of the Boston Marathon. As such, results may also reflect anxieties that the attack could set off a ripple effect in the economy.


This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between April 15 and 17 among 2,114 adults (aged 18 and over) of whom 935 are employed full-time or part-time. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.