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Transparency Tops US Employee Demands Amid Recession and Layoff Fears

Austin, TX – February 14, 2023: Today’s employees are reporting that they’re happy at their workplaces, though this is shadowed by concerns about business health, an uncertain economy and a decrease in flexibility. Findings from Beamery’s latest “Talent Index” reveal that while nearly two-thirds (64%) of US employees are happy with their current roles, a lack of salary increases (29%), poor management (26%) and disorganized businesses (22%) are all top reasons behind people wanting to leave – something nearly half (48%) of employees plan to do this year.

As businesses face difficult decisions, like reducing their workforce, fears of layoffs are also a top concern among employees. A third are worried by potential layoffs (36%), with 32% citing these concerns as making them more likely to start looking for a new job. Nearly a quarter of these respondents (24%) also report limited transparency from management, as well as increased pressure on organizations caused by inflation (37%), as adding to layoff anxiety. One area of much less concern is employee confidence in finding a job, with 76% reporting they feel confident they can find a new role in the current landscape – an almost 10-percentage-point increase from the end of last year.

Of those concerned about layoffs, 25% are now lacking motivation, yet 21% have been inspired to pursue new training and upskill. Employers can work to quell employee fears and leverage this interest in development by providing employees with the tools they need to achieve their career goals. Forty percent of employees say they would partake in non-mandatory training to advance their skill set, and 24% would do so to provide greater contributions to their organization. While upskilling and continuing education are priorities for today’s talent, over a third (39%) still believe they would need to push for employer support moving into a new role that complements their new or existing skills.

Employers are also continuing to struggle with flexible work policies and the impact in-office, versus remote work, has on productivity and engagement. Half (50%) of respondents reported that they are currently mandated to work in their office daily, and only 8% are encouraged to work wherever they please. This contradicts employee desires, though, with over a quarter (26%) of employees listing flexible or remote working options as one of the top four most important factors in choosing to apply for a role. Uncertainty about where the work day can be completed is adding to employee stress – 37% report feeling pressure to work from their company’s office.

US employees have also grappled with the onset of pay transparency laws going into effect across the country. Over a third (34%) of respondents indicated salary ranges are an essential part of pursuing a new role, and if they are not listed, these respondents would pass on applying. As this becomes more mainstream, the majority (52%) of respondents state they are more likely to apply at a company that discloses salary ranges. Over a quarter (26%) said that, while their organization did share salary bands with employees, the ranges are large and not clear, leaving confusion around the potential for individual growth.

“The uncertain market has the workforce fraught with anxiety and decreased motivation, which is fueling a cycle of employee engagement and retention concerns,” said Abakar Saidov, Co-Founder and CEO of Beamery. “In a rapidly changing environment, clear guidance around employee development, agile career pathing, and business health is an important first step to building employee trust.”

Research methodology

An online survey was conducted by Atomik Research among 2,501 respondents from the USA – all of whom were office workers. The research fieldwork took place on 19 December 2022 – 3 January 2023. Atomik Research is an independent creative market research agency that employs MRS-certified researchers and abides to MRS code.

Download the full Beamery Talent Index Seventh Edition here.