How Do Employees Feel 10 Years After the Recession?

Dec 26, 2018
| The Extensis Team
Employee sentiment 10 years post recession

Believe it or not, it has been 10 years since the start of the Great Recession. This event is considered the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

During the recession, the unemployment rate in the United States peaked at 10% in October 2009 and wouldn’t return to its pre-recession level until May 2016.

The impact the Great Recession had on the workplace and workers cannot be understated. But now a decade removed, have employee sentiments towards their jobs changed, and have salary averages increased?

That’s what recent surveys from Korn Ferry sought to find out.

The American Worker – 10 Years Post-Recession

The Korn Ferry research came from engagement data of more than 1 million employees in around 180 companies in the United States. The results show both positive and negative trends in the years following the Great Recession.

The survey reveals positive data first. The research found that employees are 28% more likely today than in 2008 to believe their managers support their learning and development. Employees today are also 15% more likely to say their organizations demonstrate care about employees.

When it comes to the future, the data shows that employees feel confident, with workers being 17% more likely today to believe their companies will be successful in the next few years.

Despite these positive results, there are a few concerning data points uncovered in the survey that relate to pay and benefits, training and performance management, and career paths and workload issues.

Negative Trends Taking Place in the Workplace

First, the research provides two statistics about employee sentiment on pay and benefits. Employees today are 15% less likely than 10 years ago to agree that the benefits offered to them by their employer are competitive. They are also 4% less likely to believe they are being paid fairly compared to others doing similar jobs at other organizations.

Next, Korn Ferry’s study provides insights into negative trends with training and performance management. The results show that today’s workers are 10% less likely to experience cross-team support and 11% less likely to believe that decisions are made at the appropriate level.

Last, research shows that career progression and workload issues are a bigger problem today than a decade ago. Employees are 10% less likely than 10 years ago to know about career paths available and 6% less likely to agree that there are enough people in their department to do the necessary work.

What Do Employee Salaries Look Like 10 Years Removed from the Great Recession?

Shortly after releasing the data discussed above, Korn Ferry revealed another new study that was specific to worker salary changes since the recession.

Researchers analyzed data from more than 5.5 million employees in the United States that made up more than 2,000 companies in various industries.

The results were broken out into three career levels: clerical/entry-level professional, mid-level professional, and senior manager.

For entry-level employees, salaries actually decreased 2.3% from $46,886 in 2008 to $45,882 in 2018. However, this trend isn’t the same for the other two career levels.

Mid-level professional salaries increased 2.4% from $83,310 to $85,332. Senior managers saw the highest percentage increase at 5.7%. This level saw salaries improve from $151,594 to $160,292.

What Do the Next 10 Years Have in Store for Employee and Workplace Trends?

The United States economy has recovered from the Great Recession of the late 2000s, with unemployment and job growth reaching new highs. Despite these feats, there are still concerning trends emerging when it comes to employees and the workplace.

With a talent war currently taking place, and the labor market expected to become even more competitive over the next 10 years, how will employers adjust to be able to attract and retain top talent?

We have already seen employers of all sizes add to their benefit and perks packages, and this will likely continue moving forward. Only time will tell what other employer trends emerge as companies try to keep up with job seeker and employee expectations.

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