Survey: Employers and Employees Don't See Eye-to-Eye on Workplace Issues

July 24, 2006 ( - A recent Randstad survey found a disparity between the views of employees and employers on workplace issues, such as productivity, employee development and morale, and it also found that some of these views change with different generations.

“The survey shows a widening gap in employee expectations and respective employer delivery,” said Genia Spencer, managing director of operations and human resources for Randstad, in a release. “Companies that encourage dialogue to narrow the disparity will broaden work appreciation and job satisfaction.”

The study included a sample of 2,906 adults, among whom 1,264 are employers and 1,642 are employees.

The survey found that employees do not think that their employers push career development, even though they claim it is a priority. Seventy-three percent of employers said fostering employee development is important, but nearly half (49%) of employees say that company leaders are implementing that priority.

Employees seem to be coming up short in the area of job satisfaction; 86% of employees said feeling valued is important to their happiness at work. Only 37% said they feel valued.

Eighty-one percent of employees and 69% of employers said that people stay in jobs just to remain employed, and about two-thirds of respondents said they do not plan on changing jobs in 2006.

The survey found that since 2005, company loyalty on behalf of the employee and the employer has dropped. Twenty-five percent of employees think their companies are loyal to workers, whereas 41% of employers say the same thing. And 56% of employees say that employer/employees are loyal to the company while 72% of employers say the same thing.

Generational Gaps

The results of the survey also pinpoint generational differences in employees’ views of career development, happiness and the way that workers manage stress.

“Employees’ views of work and growth opportunities vary by generation; therefore improving job satisfaction and productivity require tailored approaches,” Spencer said in the release.

Generation Y workers are the least likely to be interested in pay increases and most likely to be interested in learning new skills (31%), and they are more likely to value a career path (19%) than any other generation. Interestingly, only 3% consider increased responsibilities important to their career.

Other findings on generational differences include:

  • 58% of Gen Y and 52% of Gen X want personal growth in their job, whereas 41% of Boomers say personal growth is a goal.
  • Gen Y and Gen X take the greatest number of sick days and Matures take the least. One in five (21%) employees reports taking a sick day to relieve stress.
  • Compared to Matures, Gen Y is almost twice as likely (40% vs. 26%) to take a sick day to relieve stress, almost three times more likely (33% vs. 12%) to attribute working too many hours to absenteeism and almost four times as likely (23% vs. 6 %) to use a sick day for personal errands.

Employment Issues

The survey also found a difference in hiring attitudes between small and large companies. Forty-one percent of small companies are concerned with hiring people with the right skills; while 31% of large companies regard retaining and motivating employees as the most important business issue.