If the opposite of hate is indifference, suffice it to say that most workers in the U.S. aren’t quite indifferent toward their employers.

In a global study of 2,200 employees, 600 C-suite leaders, and 600 HR executives, The Workforce Institute at HR software firm UKG found that 38% of workers said they wouldn’t wish their job on their worst enemy—that figure jumped to 45% among U.S. workers.

And nearly half (46%) of all workers surveyed—including nearly a third (29%) of C-suite execs—wouldn’t recommend their company or profession to their children or any young person they care about. While employees, HR leaders, and C-suite leaders alike all said they wanted financial security for their kids, they all agreed they’d urge their children to pursue work that gives them the chance to care for and spend time with family, is personally meaningful and makes them fulfilled, and ensures a successful career path.  

More than half (53%) would choose a completely new profession if they could travel back in time. 40% stated that they wish someone had advised them to leave their current job. Nearly two-thirds of employees said they’d switch jobs “right now” if they could, and nearly half don’t even want to work anymore at all. Too bad it’s become a lot harder than expected for workers to find a new role. 

Workers’ dominant feeling towards work is that it’s a transaction. One in five workers says they go to work for a paycheck. Only 11% feel that their job is important. “calling.”

The work environment has never been more exciting

It may not be shocking that workers feel apathetic, if not openly angry, about the work that they’re doing. Workers have been reviewing their jobs and how they fit in their lives since the pandemic. They have a renewed sense for work/life balance, as well as higher expectations of what their job should offer.

“People are disheartened because work is failing to meet their expectations, and there has been a shift in how people view the role of work in their lives,” The study was written by Dr. Chris Mullen (executive director, The Workforce Institute at UKG). 

While workers care most about livable income, personal fulfillment and a respectful relationship with their superiors, small things companies can do to ease workers’ day-to-day burdens can go an especially long way. 

Some companies have decided to offer extravagant perks for employees, such as personal assistants and laundry service, in order to foster employee loyalty during the Great Receipt.

Perhaps those nice-to-haves won’t make an otherwise unhappy employee decide to stick around—or recommend their job to someone they care about. In a volatile economy and a looming recession, every expense that is focused on retention is well-spent money and time. 

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