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Brand Learning

Did you hear?…Employees bare all in surveys on workloads, pay cuts

Are employees happy with workload demands, the push for productivity, pay cuts and furloughs? Two surveys offer perspective.

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Two studies — one from MetLife and another from Glassdoor — shined a spotlight on employees’ perspectives on workloads, work demands, the push for higher productivity and pay cuts.

According to MetLife’s annual study on employee trends, many companies have increased employees’ workloads and put a higher priority on productivity since the recession began. (Click here to read a SNEWS economic story on the status of the recession.)

The study, conducted by GfK Custom Research North America, also found that 40 percent of employees surveyed said their workload had increased in the past 12 months. Employers did not dispute that, with 36 percent saying productivity improved as they put a higher priority on getting more out of their workers.

The focus on productivity was the highest in the eight years of the survey, with 84 percent of employers describing it as a very important objective, up from 79 percent a year earlier.

MetLife also found:

>> About two-thirds of employees surveyed, or 68 percent, said they were affected in the past 12 months by increased feelings of job insecurity, a decrease in the quality of their work or being distracted at work because of financial worries.

>> 45 percent said they live paycheck to paycheck — up from 37 percent in 2006.

>> 52 percent of employees said they were behind where they hoped to be in saving for retirement, up from 47 percent in 2007. Only one in four respondents said they felt they were on track to save enough for retirement.

Alternately, Glassdoor, a career website offering worker opinions on work environments, pay and benefits, found 76 percent of responding employees said they are willing to take a pay cut — despite a rising level of confidence among workers when it comes to the financial stability of their employers.

Among those who are out of work, 88 percent said they would take less in salary in order to land a job, according to the survey of 2,315 employees conducted by Harris Interactive for Glassdoor (

Other Glassdoor findings include:

>> Only 18 percent of employees queried are concerned they could be laid off in the next six months — a rate that has fallen for the fifth consecutive quarter and is down from 26 percent in the first quarter of last year.

>> 38 percent of employees believe if they lost their job, they would be able to find a new one matched to their experience and compensation levels in the next six months, while 30 percent think it is unlikely.

>> Just 10 percent of respondents expect their company’s outlook to get worse in the next six months.

>> 42 percent of those polled do not expect a pay raise or cost of living increase in the next 12 months, compared to 36 percent who do.

>> 51 percent of respondents said they want a raise if they think their company has turned a corner. “Employees may be willing to take a salary cut now,” said Rusty Rueff, Glassdoor’s career and workplace expert, in a statement, “but there’s a breaking point.”

And then there are all those state workers in California, furloughed by the budget crisis and unemployment in the Golden State. Seems the dirty little secret is that despite complaining loudly about the mandatory unpaid furlough days (three Fridays every month since July 2009), many revel in the extra time for personal gain, exercise or family.

–Wendy Geister