CNBC|Momentive Workforce Survey November 2022

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CNBC|Momentive Workforce Survey November 2022

Brianna Richardson

December 20, 2022 | 6 min read

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Key findings:

  • Despite headline-generating layoffs in tech, 59% of workers aren’t concerned they or others in their household will lose their jobs in the near term 
  • Three quarters of workers say their company is prepared to handle a recession if it were to occur
  • Inflation concerns continue to run high: 67% say the biggest threat to their job is an economic downturn, up 7 points from June 2019 (60%)
  • Worker morale reaches a new high: 72% say the morale among their coworkers is either “excellent” or “good”
  • Workers in over- or under-staffed companies are increasingly likely to consider quitting

Majority of workers dismiss layoff concerns 

Despite some high-profile layoffs at Twitter, Meta, and Amazon, most workers (59%) aren’t concerned that they or someone in their household will be laid off or lose their job in the next few months, according to the latest CNBC|Momentive Workforce Survey. More than a quarter (26%) aren’t concerned at all about potential layoffs. 

Yet, not all workers are dismissing layoffs: 57% of Asians, 53% of Hispanics and 47% of Blacks are concerned that layoffs may impact their household compared with just 33% of white workers and 43% of workers of another race. 

  • 47% of workers earning less than $50,000 are concerned that they or someone in their household will be laid off or lose their job – the highest across all income groups (37% of those earning between $50,000-$99,999; 30% of those earning between $100,000-$150,000 and 25% of those earning more than $150,000 say the same) 
  • Women workers are slightly more likely than men to be concerned about layoffs affecting their household (41% vs. 38%) 
  • Tech workers are more likely than average to be worried, but not drastically so: 44% say they are concerned about layoffs impacting their household, compared with 45% among Transportation & Delivery workers, and 44% among workers in each of the following industries: Personal Service, Advertising & Marketing, Business Support & Logistics,  and Automotive.

As layoff concerns remain low, workers are confident in their ability to find a new job: 80% of workers say that if they lost their current job it would take them 6 months or less to find a new job with similar pay, including more than a third (36%) who say they could find a new job with similar pay in less than a month.

Yet, remote workers are less confident: just 24% of those working fully remotely say that if they lost their current job they could find a new job with similar pay in less than a month – nearly half the number of fully in-person employees who say the same (41%).

Workplace satisfaction plays key role in whether workers think their company can handle a recession 

As most workers dismiss layoff concerns, the overwhelming majority (74%) say their company is prepared to handle a recession if one were to occur. Over a quarter (27%) of workers say their company is “very prepared” to weather a potential recession. This remains true across nearly all groups of workers, regardless of age, race, industry or job level.

Yet, workplace happiness plays a major role in workers’ beliefs that their company can handle a recession: 86% of those who say the overall morale at their company is “excellent” say their company is prepared to handle a recession, more than double the number of those who say the moral at their company is poor (42%).

Similarly, those who are satisfied with their current job are far more likely than those who are dissatisfied with their job to say their company is prepared to weather a recession (79% vs. 49%). 

Worker morale reaches an all-time high
The overwhelming majority (72%) of workers say the overall morale among their coworkers is either “excellent” or “good”, up three points from May 2022 (69%). Morale is up among nearly all workers, regardless of gender, race or job level.

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This uptick in morale comes as most workers (42%) say they’re “thriving” at work these days, roughly unchanged from October of last year (42%). Just 37% say they’re “coasting” at work while even fewer (18%) say they’re “struggling”.  

Overall, our Workforce Happiness Index increased by one point to a score of 72 out of a possible 100, with a couple of the five index components experiencing a slightly positive shift since May. 

  • 63% of workers say they have excellent or good opportunities to advance their careers at their places of work, a new high across all previous Workforce surveys
  • 84% of workers think their contributions are valued a lot or some by their colleagues, up slightly from May
  • 91% of workers in the U.S. consider their job to be very or somewhat meaningful to them
  • 85% of workers have a lot or some autonomy over how they do their job, unchanged from May 
  • 73% of workers consider themselves to be very or somewhat well paid for the work they do

Workers in over- or under-staffed companies increasingly look to quit 

More workers now (48%) than before say their company is adequately staffed, a 6-point increase from October 2021 (42%). Slightly fewer (45%) say their company is understaffed while nearly no one says their company is overstaffed (5%). 

  • Some industries are still facing staffing shortages: 62% of government workers say their company is understaffed, followed closely by workers in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry (55%), the airline industry (52%) and the nonprofit industry (51%). 

Over and understaffing issues continue to pose attrition threats: 57% of those who say their company is overstaffed have seriously considered quitting in the last three months, up nine points from October 2021 (48%). Those in understaffed companies are more likely to look to quitting too: 46% of workers in understaffed companies say they’ve seriously considered quitting in the last three months, also up slightly from October 2021 (43%). 

Overall, 36% of workers say they’ve seriously considered quitting their job in the last three months, down slightly from the all-time high seen in May (39%), but still higher than any previous iteration of our CNBC|Momentive Workforce survey.

Inflation concerns continue to run high

Two-thirds of workers (67%) say the biggest threat to their job is an economic downturn, up 7 points from June 2019 (60%). Economic concerns far outpace the threat of outsourcing (18%) or automation (11%). Fears of an economic downtown have increased among nearly all workers, regardless of race, income or industry.

  • Older adults harbor the most concern for the economy: 75% of those age 65 and up say the biggest threat to their job is an economic downturned compared with just 58% of those 18-24.  
  • Higher-income households are most worried about the economy: 77% of those in households earning more than $150,000 say an economic downturn is the biggest threat – the highest across all income brackets
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Threats of economic downturn loom higher over certain industries: 83% of workers in real estate, 78% of those in hospitality and tourism, 76% of those in agriculture and 76% of those in construction say an economic downturn is the biggest threat to their job. 

Amid ongoing inflation, workers continue to say inflation has increased more than their salary (66%), unchanged from May (66%). Just 20% say their salary has kept pace with inflation while slightly fewer (13%) say their salary has increased more than inflation. 

  • 74% of those who’ve considered quitting in the past three months say inflation has outpaced their salary compared with 62% who haven’t considered quitting
  • Workers in the real estate and agriculture sectors are among the most likely to say their salary has increased more than inflation

Read more about our polling methodology here

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