Most Americans Face Hostile Work Environments, According to Survey

According to a new survey, most Americans face a hostile work environment.

Photo: Shutterstock

A recently released survey from the RAND Corporation, Harvard Medical School, and UCLA revealed some pretty disturbing findings about the current American workplace: many employees are under constant stress, workplaces are often hazardous, and social environments are frequently hostile, especially for women.

The survey was given to about 3,000 workers, and while not all of the information gleaned was negative, much of it does give reason for pause:

  • More than one in four American workers say they have too little time to complete their work. This complaint was most frequent among white-collar workers.
  • More than half do some sort of work outside of their workplace, impacting their ability to spend quality time with their friends and family.
  • More than half of those surveyed reported that they are exposed to unpleasant and even hazardous working conditions, including hostility and threats.
  • About 62 percent of American workers reported their work tasks are typically monotonous and unenjoyable.
  • Only 38 percent reported opportunities to advance within their employment.

It’s not all bad news, though. The survey revealed some positive traits of the modern workplace, too:

  • Four out of five Americans said their jobs met at least one definition of “meaningful” most of the time.
  • Eight out of ten American workers said their job is steady and predictable.
  • The majority of those surveyed said they saw “solving unforeseen problems” and “applying [their] own ideas” as important parts of their work.
  • Many reported a certain degree of autonomy and confidence about their skillset.
  • More than half of the surveyed workers (58 percent) said their boss is supportive, and 56 percent said they have good friends at work.

“There’s a message for employers here,” said the study lead author, Nicole Maestas. “Working conditions really do matter.”

This was the first survey of its kind, focusing on American workers ages 25-71. The RAND Corporation and its partners intend to collect data again next year to compare American and European working conditions.


New Ways to Show Employees Some Love

Check out these three new ways that employers are showing their appreciation.

There are many ways to show employees you appreciate them. Photo via Pixabay

Whether it’s providing employees with a stake in the company, creating an intranet system of recognition, or rearranging a profit-sharing plan so that it takes into account age (and thereby rewards employees who have been with the company longer), the business world continues to create new ways to show its appreciation for hardworking individuals.

Gardner Denver

In May of this year, Gardner Denver, an industrial company based out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, made a bold move toward showing appreciation for its employees…to the tune of $100 million in stock.

“It makes our companies stronger and more effective,” explained Pete Stavros, the KKR executive who represents KKR’s investment in Gardner and is also chairman of the Gardner board. He added that this sort of incentive helps motivate employees and encourage engagement.

More than 6,000 Gardner employees will be receiving stock as part of Gardner’s recent IPO. The shares will be worth up to 40% of their annual salaries.

“We have big aspirations for Gardner Denver,” said Stavros. “We hope a significant portion of the [employees] will see what we see—that there’s a lot of room to run.”

Jostle and Bonusly

This month Jostle and Bonusly teamed up to offer their employees a new sort of benefit: an easier way to receive recognition from their coworkers. The new intranet is set up to encourage employee engagement via a point system. When employees leave notes about the good things they’ve seen or experienced each other doing, the person on the receiving end gets points that can be redeemed for small rewards.

Called the People Engagement platform, this intranet has already had a positive effect n the various companies like Bonusly and Jostle who use it.

“What we have created is a framework for post hoc recognition,” explains Raphael Crawford-Marks, co-founder and CEO of Bonusly. “People want to be able to give praise and recognition in the workforce, but they often don’t have a venue to do it. That is what we provide.”

Cross-Tested Plans

For small professional firms looking to reward long-time employees, a cross-tested plan allows managers to divide workers into groups when it comes to determining contributions to their retirement plans. That means older employees can get bonus contributions as an extra thank you for all their years of service. Small physicians’ offices, law firms, and engineering companies often take advantage of this setup.

“This [program] takes age into account, enabling the contributions allocated to older employees to be larger than those made to younger employees” because older employees have a shorter time to go until retirement, says Rob Massa, Director of Retirement at Ascende Wealth Advisors in Houston, Texas. This year, the maximum that can be contributed is $54,000.

A cross-tested plan can help with employee retention—not to mention giving a big thank you to the dedicated workers who have helped build a company over the years.

All three of these options are great ways to show employees that their work is valued—and that it will be rewarded, both in the long term and the short term.

4 Benefits of Working for a Startup

The word "startup" written in yellow.

Image credit: Shutterstock

If you’re seeking employment but haven’t had any luck thus far, perhaps it’s time to look into startups. New companies are hidden gems of opportunity, especially for young professionals who are entering the workforce. Before you go dismissing the idea entirely, check out the top four benefits of working for a startup.

1. Faster Upward Mobility

Because there are generally fewer employees at a startup, the opportunities for advancement are significantly increased. Factor in high turnover rates and you’ve got some great odds working in your favor. Sure, you may not be getting paid as much as you would at a major corporation, but in the long-term you’ll get to where you want to go a whole lot quicker.

2. Interaction with Leadership

When working for a startup, it’s not uncommon to see the CEO in office every day. Because startups are so small, it puts you in direct communication with the company’s top executives. In other words, you’ll have the opportunity to make your voice heard and wield some influence.

3. Your Work is Directly Impactful

Starting a company is not easy. That’s why launching a new product or service requires a great amount of effort on behalf of everyone involved. If you happen to snag a position at a startup, it means that your role is vital to the overall function of the organization. That often translates to incredibly fulfilling work, as you’ll feel valued and appreciated.

4. They’re Unstable

For some people, this is more of a con than it is a pro. But for those of us who prefer to live life on the edge, it’s incredibly exciting!

There are no guarantees when it comes to startups. The company can go under at any time, which either terrifies you or motivates you depending on the kind of person you are. The fact that you’re always walking a tight rope between employment and impending doom means that you have to stay on your A-game 100% of the time.

Tell me: have you ever worked for a startup? What was your experience like? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

The Worst States to Be Unemployed In


Mississippi is the worst state to live in if you are unemployed. IMG: via Shutterstock.

Being unemployed is the worst – unless of course you have a job lined up or you are unemployed on purpose. While the national unemployment rate has improved over the past couple of years, 6.3% is still pretty sad. In May of this year, it was the lowest it has been since September of 2008. However, this means that there are still 12 million Americans out of work – which is a lot. And this number isn’t including people who are underemployed or not working 40 hours a week.

24/7 Wall St. used data from The Department of Labor to identify the best and worst states to be unemployed in.

5. Illinois

With an unemployment rate of 7.9%, Illinois has one of the highest in the nation. Job growth is slow (.5%), and nearly three-quarters of the states’ unemployed did not receive benefits.

4. Kentucky

Kentucky’s unemployment rate is 7.7%, and has a very slow job growth rate, at .3%.

3. Michigan

The unemployment rate here is 7.4%, and the job growth rate is .6%. Michigan also has the highest underemployment rate in the U.S., at 15.2%.

2. Alabama

The unemployment rate in Alabama is 7.5% and the job growth rate is .7%. Alabama is the least generous with unemployment insurance, providing residents with only 26.2% of average weekly income.

1. Mississippi

Mississippi is the worst state to be unemployed in. The unemployment rate at 7.6% and the job growth rate is at .9%. What makes this state the worst is the little amount of unemployment insurance offered – an average of just $194 per week.

The best states to be unemployed in include Vermont, Hawaii, Utah, Iowa, and North Dakota.

Recent College Grads Are All Heading to These Cities


Paris, France is the most popular destination for recent grads.

Think there are an unusually large amount of college grads in your city – well you may be right. Millions of college graduates see graduation as the perfect opportunity to get away. Nothing is holding you down, and you can finally move to the city you’ve dreamed of.

Some large cities are more popular for recent college grads then others, with about 40 percent of new residents comprising recent college grads in the most popular destinations. LinkedIn has been analyzing the migration patterns of users 0-3 years out of college for the past year. Their data keeps track of moves greater than 100 miles.

While some of these cities are not a surprise (who wouldn’t want to move to New York City or Paris?), some may surprise you! Check out the list of the most popular cities to move to for college grads, and see if yours makes the list:

1. Paris

42 percent of new residents in 2013 were recent college grads. A lot of these recent grads are going to BNP Paribas, L’Oréal, LVMH, EDF and Société Générale.

2. Washington D.C.

40 percent of new residents in 2013 were recent college grads. A lot of these recent grads are going to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Defense, World Bank, Booz Allen Hamilton and U.S. Department of Commerce.

3. Minneapolis-St. Paul

40 percent of new residents in 2013 were recent college grads. A lot of these recent grads are going to Target, 3M, General Mills, Wells Fargo and Cargill.

4. Madrid

40 percent of new residents in 2013 were recent college grads. A lot of these recent grads are going to Telefònica, Deloitte, PWC, BBVA and Accenture.

5. New York City

38 percent of new residents in 2013 were recent college grads. A lot of these recent grads are going to JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citi and IBM.

6. Chicago

38 percent of new residents in 2013 were recent college grads. A lot of these recent grads are going to Deloitte, Accenture, PWC, Ernst & Young and Groupon.

7. London

35 percent of new residents in 2013 were recent college grads. A lot of these recent grads are going to Barclays, JP Morgan Chase, HSBC, Goldman, Sachs and KPMG.

8. San Francisco area

34 percent of new residents in 2013 were recent college grads. A lot of these recent grads are going to Google, Oracle, Apple, Cisco and Facebook.

9. Banglaore

34 percent of new residents in 2013 were recent college grads.

10. Sao Paulo, Brazil

34 percent of new residents in 2013 were recent college grads.

Fast-Food Workers Protest for Higher Pay

Fast-food workers protest for higher pay

IMG: Steve Rhodes via Flickr

Fast-food workers in 100 cities gathered outside their restaurants to campaign for a $15 an hour pay raise and rights to form unions. The “mini-strikes” were put together by an advocacy group called Fast Food Forward, which advances the higher wages for fast-food workers message. The advocates believe the high pay raise will benefit the American economy overall as minimum-wage positions contributed to much of the job market recovery.

What was once thought of as a job for eager teenagers has quickly turned into some of the only jobs available for people without a college education. The workforce is overwhelmingly adult with more than a third raising children. When these workers are strapped for cash and working for minimum wage, the economy feels that impact and is weakened.

At a 50-person demonstration in front of the Detroit-area McDonald’s, one worker highlighted his struggle to take care of his son on $7.40 an hour as a single parent. Stories like this are fueling workers to organize and protest. The Detroit protest failed to shut down the restaurant, but did manage to get a few employees to walk out and join the cause.

Yum Brands, the parent of Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC, released a statement defending the minimum wage payment by stating they pay competitive wages and provide training in hope of advancing their employees. “While entry level positions may begin at the minimum wage, this is a training wage. Once an employee successfully builds their skills, they are able to increase their wages.”

Still, some believe the only way a wage increase will come is if the government steps in and raises it through legislature. Obama has recently expressed his support to raise the minimum wage to $10.10, but Congress has yet to act on any measures regarding pay raises.

Your Bachelors Degree May Not be Enough

There has been a large growth in wages for people with advanced degrees over the past 10 years, but the same is not true for those with Bachelors degrees.

The inflation-adjusted wages of people with a bachelor’s degree declined between 2002 and 2012, according to a report from the Economic Policy Institute. Those with advanced degrees had an increase in wages.

A chart made by EPI shows the differences:


2008 is when the wage gap really increased. EPI’s report found that between 2000 and 2012, the income of workers with only a bachelor’s degree compared to those with only a high school diploma was at a rate of about 4 percent for men and less than one percentage point for women. In comparison, that rate was about 14 percent during the 1980s.

The problem is that graduate degrees cost a lot of money. The programs are very rigorous and don’t allow much time for a part time job. Tuition is much higher as well, and students who already have $50,000 or more in debt might feel hesitant about stacking on more in a poor economy.

While this may seem a bit depressing, a bachelor’s degree is still very valuable. Over the past ten years, workers with a bachelor’s degree’s pay stayed about the same, while those with only a high school diploma saw a drop in pay.

Highest Job Opening Levels in 5 Years

Job Interview

IMG: via Shutterstock

In June, the number of job openings in the U.S. rose to the highest level in half a decade as about 29,000 more openings were tacked on. Ironically, even as the total number of positions waiting to be filled rose to about 3.94 million, the pace of hiring slowed to a crawl. In June 2012, the total number of job openings sat around 3.79 million, making this June’s gains about 3.8% over last year.

More employers took on part-time staff last month, though, which caused a drop in the unemployment rate and a rise in payrolls. But many more workers are still looking to be hired or add on second and third jobs. Labor demand is high, but an increase in job openings should improve things some. June also showed a drop in firings and quits, with employees retaining current jobs.

In December 2007, when the recession first began, there were about 1.8 job seekers per job opening posted. Today, that number is hovering around 3 job seekers per opening. To reach pre-recession levels, the U.S. labor market would need to add about 2 million more jobs.

These numbers show that the market is slowly improving, but also that we still have a long way to go before reaching pre-recession economic health. Improvements so far are largely due to the fact that layoffs have finally dropped off to pre-recession levels. Employers are no longer cutting current jobs at record rates, but many are still reluctant to hire on more employees when the economy is still moving so slowly.

Russian CEO Oleg Derpaska Gives His $3 Million Bonus to Employees


IMG: via Shutterstock

It happens everywhere. Companies claim to have no extra money to give their lower level employees raises, while big CEOs get huge bonuses. It’s unfortunate, but companies tend to value their CEOs over people they feel they can replace. One CEO has decided to end the inequality.

One CEO is doing his part to close huge pay gap between himself and his employees. Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska is using his entire $3 million bonus to buy shares for 120 of his more than 72,0000 employees, according to the BBC. While this is a one time thing, if successful, the company may give more awards to employees in similar ways.

While there is speculation that this move may be to distract people from the controversy around him, it still sets a great example. He has been accused of bribery and extortion in various lawsuits, but all claims have been very unsuccessful, according to ABC News.

Sparing his $3 million dollar bonus won’t make a very big cut on his $8.5 billion net worth, he is setting a great example. Bonuses to executives in the United States jumped up 25% last year according to The New York Times.

Deripaska isn’t the only CEO doing this. Yang Yuanqing, the head of technology company Lenovo, gave $3 million of his bonus away to some of his workers last year, but kept $2.2 million of it for himself.

The Top 10 States Where People Hate Going to Work the Most

Rhode Island

Rhode Island is the number one state where people hate going to work the most.
IMG: via Shutterstock

While it’s very true that some people love their jobs a lot more than others, less than 1/3 of U.S. workers were actively engaged in their jobs last year, according to a Gallup Report just released. This poll also showed that 18% of Americans were actively disengaged from their jobs. These workers are, “more likely to steal from their companies, negatively influence coworkers, miss workdays, and drive customers away.” stated Gallup.

“When people that are engaged come to work, they know what’s expected, they fell comfortable in the job that they’re in,” explained Jim Hartner, Gallup’s chief scientist. “They fell they have a manager that helps support them and helps develop them.

Being engaged at your job is not only important to your job performance, but your mental health as well. Workers who are the least-engaged tend to be less happy overall.

These are the 10 states where people hate going to work, according to 24/7 Wall St.:

1) Rhode Island

2) Connecticut

3) New Jersey

4) Pennsylvania

5) Kentucky

6) Vermont

7) New York

8) Michigan

9) Illinois

10) West Virginia

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