Uncertain Economy Weighs Heavily on US Workers, Accenture Study Finds
Middle managers cite workers’ low morale and concerns about job security
NEW YORK – Nearly two-thirds of U.S. middle managers say that the economy is having a negative impact on their work environments, according to an Accenture (NYSE: ACN) survey released today.
The survey of more than 300 U.S. middle managers found that 61 percent said that employees are concerned about losing their jobs or that morale is down. Additionally, more than half (53 percent) of respondents said they are dissatisfied or only somewhat satisfied with their jobs.
“In an uncertain economic environment, employers will need to take extra care in keeping employees engaged and ensuring that they maintain their job performance,” said David Smith, managing director of Accenture’s Talent & Organization Performance practice in North America. “Sound talent management strategies are now more important than ever.”
Despite the dissatisfaction, only 13 percent of middle managers said they are actively looking for a new job. Two-thirds (66 percent) said they would consider a new job but are not actively looking, but nearly half (46 percent) believe that taking a new job in the current economic environment is risky. More than one-quarter (27 percent) are taking steps to improve the security of their jobs, such as working harder or longer hours.
“Clearly, job security is of paramount importance to employees right now,” said Smith. “Nevertheless, employers must continue to find ways to improve the work experience for their employees or they may be faced with an unwelcome rise in employee departures when the economy improves.”
The survey also found that more than two-thirds (68 percent) of middle managers believe that their companies could do more to help employees cope with the weak economy. Opportunities for telecommuting and four-day work weeks are the suggestions cited most often by respondents (26 percent and 24 percent, respectively).
Some employers are making positive strides in responding to demands from employees for new ways of working. Nearly one-third (29 percent) of middle managers said that their employers have taken steps to help them cope with the weak economy through programs such as flexible schedules, four-day work weeks, telecommuting and transportation subsidies.
“Increasingly, we are seeing organizations re-focus their talent management techniques to provide employee programs that are more customized to individual needs,” Smith said. “We expect this trend to continue for some time.”
About the Study
Accenture conducted an online survey of 322 middle managers in the United States in September 2008. The survey was part of a global Accenture study of more than 2,600 middle managers conducted during September and October in 22 countries: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. With more than 186,000 people serving clients in over 120 countries, the company generated net revenues of US$23.39 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2008. Its home page is www.accenture.com.
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