CNBC|Momentive Workforce Happiness Index: May 2022

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CNBC|Momentive Workforce Happiness Index: May 2022

See our latest research on job satisfaction, the impact of inflation on salaries, and the current status of remote work.

Laura Wronski

May 27, 2022 | 4 min read

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People are looking to quit, despite high morale and a steady level of job satisfaction

More people now (39%) than in any previous iteration of our CNBC|Momentive Workforce Survey say they have seriously considered quitting their jobs in the past three months.

Quitters are especially prevalent among low-wage workers making under $50,000 per year, 43% of whom say they have seriously considered quitting, vs. 29% of those making $150,000 per year or more. Full-time and part-time workers are about equally likely to say they’re looking to quit (38% and 41%, respectively). 

Despite that high number of workers looking to quit, morale is also especially high right now. More workers now than ever before (28%) say morale among their coworkers is “excellent” these days. 

C-suite leaders have an especially rosy view on morale: 43% describe morale as “excellent,” fifteen points higher than among the next closest job level.

Overall, our Workforce Happiness Index dips one point to a score of 71 out of a possible 100, though none of the five index components experienced a major shift since November. 

Inflation dings perceptions of pay

Overall, 72% of workers consider themselves to be well-paid, including 25% who say they are very well paid and 47% who say they are somewhat well paid. Despite summing to an easy majority of the workforce, those numbers are the lowest they have been since November 2019, flashing a warning sign to employers. 

Two-thirds of workers (66%) say inflation has outpaced any salary gains they’ve made in the past 12 months, while 19% say increases in their salary have about matched inflation and 13% say their salary has increased more than inflation. 

High-income workers, with annual salaries greater than $150,000, are substantially more likely to report having received salary increases that have outpaced inflation over the last year.

Return-to-office continues, but some remote workers are staying home

Despite the disruption the pandemic caused, sending workers home and businesses scrambling to support their new remote lifestyle, remote workers are now clearly in the minority. 

The majority of workers have now returned to the office full-time, with 65% saying they are now working fully in-person from their office or workplace, 14% working mostly in-person, 9% working mostly remotely, and 11% working fully remotely. 

Thinking long-term, about half of workers (52%) continue to say they expect in-person workers to have better career opportunities available to them than remote workers, while 30% expect remote and in-person workers to have equal opportunities to advance, and just 15% expect remote workers to have better opportunities. These numbers are all consistent with results from October and April 2021. 

Labor unions are widely popular among workers

After decades of decline, the labor union movement is picking up across the U.S., with warehouse workers at Amazon, baristas at Starbucks, and even tech workers at Google making large-scale pushes to increase unionization. Workers across the country express widespread support for these efforts: 46% of workers say that labor unions are mostly good for working people, more than twice the number who say they are mostly bad (17%); another 33% say they are neither good nor bad. 

Some 36% of workers say labor unions do not have enough power and influence, more than the number who say labor unions have “too much power and influence” and the number who say unions have “about the right amount of power and influence.” 

This issue divides neatly along partisan lines, with workers who are Republican or Republican-leaning tending to think unions have too much power, while Democrats and Democratic-leaning workers saying that unions do not have enough influence.

Just more than one in 10 workers in the U.S. is a member of a labor union, but a majority of workers (59%) would support an increase in unionization at their company. 

Political issues

More than half of workers in the U.S. (56%) approve of business leaders speaking up about social and political issues, according to the latest CNBC|SurveyMonkey Workforce Survey, but far fewer (32%) say they would back their own company’s leadership regardless of what they were advocating. 

Both of those numbers have fallen off slightly year-over-year. This year’s survey was fielded May 10-16 among more than 9,000 workers nationwide, following the leak of a Supreme Court decision that would overturn Roe v. Wade. Last year’s poll was conducted amidst a wave of news events—including heightened anti-Asian discrimination, voting disenfranchisement in Georgia, and the trial of Derek Chauvin—that prompted business leaders to wade into politics in a very visible way.

Women are more likely than men, younger workers are more likely than older workers, and—most dramatically—Blacks, Asians, and Hispanics are more likely than whites to say they would approve of business leaders who speak up. 

If they do choose to speak out, business leaders risk driving away workers who disagree with them politically. Four in 10 workers (40%) say they would be very or somewhat likely to quit their job if their organization took a stand on a political issue that they do not agree with. 

Most workers are very aligned with their current employers politically: 66% say they consider their company’s position on political issues to be “about right,” while the rest are split between those who think their employer is “too liberal” (14%) and “too conservative” (14%).

Read more about our polling methodology here.

Click through all the results in the interactive toplines below:

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