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Employee Appreciation: How Do Workers Feel?

Since April 2021, 33 million [1] FRED Economic Data https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/JTSQUL people are reported to have left their positions, equating to nearly a fifth of the non-farming workforce, leading many to start questioning why people might be leaving their place of work.

One such area that has been mentioned is appreciation and compensation for an employee's work, especially in light of rising costs of living and the impact of the pandemic. To understand a little more about how employees in the U.S. are feeling, we surveyed over 1,200 working adults about their current work, how appreciated and respected they feel, and what employers could do to make them feel more appreciated.

Key takeaways

Managerial appreciation at work

One of the key drivers for the “Great Resignation” were the workers demanding both respect and compensation for their hard work. To help understand just how employees are feeling, we asked over 1,200 working adults about how appreciated they feel at work.

Our survey found one in seven (13%) employees do not feel appreciated by their manager(s) and direct management, while 73.7% say they feel appreciated by their manager(s).

However, data showed that levels of unappreciation can differ depending on people's backgrounds, work, and working styles.

Results of our study found that Black and African American employees are 19% more likely to feel unappreciated by their managers and management than white workers, with almost one in six (14.8%) Black workers saying they don’t feel like their manager(s) appreciate them compared to 12.4% of white workers. 

However, this unappreciation is felt even more by employees from Native American and Alaskan backgrounds, where one in five (19.2%) say they do not feel appreciated by their bosses.

Appreciated Unappreciated
Native American and Alaskan 76.9% 19.2%
Asian 62.0% 12.7%
Black or African American 69.3% 14.8%
White 76.1% 12.4%

In terms of industries where workers feel the most underappreciated, utilities workers are the most likely to say their bosses do not show them appreciation; with more than one in four (28.6%) saying they don’t feel like their manager appreciates their work.

Accommodation and food service workers are the second most likely to feel unappreciated (26.9%) by their bosses, while health care and social assistance workers are the third most likely to feel unappreciated (23.5%).

Before 2020, working from home was something of a rarity for many workers, however, since working from home orders were given in response to the pandemic it has become a far more common occurrence. 

Our results found that those who do work from home are the least likely to report feeling appreciated (68.8%), while more than three-quarters (77.2%) of workers who work from their employers' offices say they felt appreciated.

Managerial respect at work

Further insights showed that while four out of five (80.5%) of ‘office’ workers felt respected by bosses, just two-thirds (76.2%) of homeworkers could say the same about their line managers.

Respected Disrespected
Work From Home 76.2% 9.2%
Work In Employers Premises 80.5% 8.3%

Overall, fewer than three-quarters (78.4%) of workers in the U.S. feel respected by their manager(s), with nearly one in 11 (9%) employees saying they feel disrespected by their bosses.

Similar to the appreciation at work, Black workers are less likely to say they feel respected at work than white workers or the national average. Just 77.3% of Black workers said they felt respected by bosses (compared to the average 78.4%), with nearly one in 10 (9.1%) Black workers saying they felt disrespected by their manager(s).

Agriculture workers are the most likely to feel disrespected by managers, with 27.3% of respondents that work in the industry saying they felt disrespected. Utilities (21.4%), health care and social assistance workers (13.7%) are the second and third most likely to report feeling disrespected by managers.

Company-wide appreciation 

While direct managers can have a greater influence on workers, being their go-tos for reviews and feedback, workers can also feel the impact of wider company policies and management.

Results of our survey found that 15% of workers feel unappreciated by the company they work for, with just over two-thirds (70.8%) saying they feel appreciated by their overall employer.

A third (35.7%) of utilities workers said they feel unappreciated by their company, the most of any industry. After utilities workers, those in the health care and social assistance industry are the second most to feel unappreciated by their employer (27.5%).

Employees in the construction industry are the most likely to feel appreciated by their employers (85.3%); followed by those in management services (84.4%) and finance and insurance (82.1%) industries.

Data also suggested a gender difference between being appreciated by their company as a whole, with 73.7% of male-identifying workers saying they feel appreciated, compared to just 68.6% of female-identifying workers; one in six (16.5%) actively feeling unappreciated by their current company.

Appreciated Unappreciated
Female 68.6% 16.5%
Male 73.7% 13.6%

Company respect at work

Our survey found that fewer than three-quarters (73.8%) of workers feel respected by their company, with just over one in 10 (11.6%) feeling actively disrespected. 

Results showed that 12.5% of female-identifying workers feel disrespected by the company they work for, with 10.3% of male-identifying workers also saying they feel disrespected by their employer.

Employees working in the arts and entertainment industry are the most likely to feel disrespected by their employers, with over a third (35.7%) saying they feel somewhat or very disrespected by the company they work for.

Utilities (28.6%) and accommodation and food services workers (26.9%) are the second and third most likely to feel disrespected by their bosses. 

In comparison, 90.6% of employees in management services feel respected by their company, with wholesale trade (87%) the second most likely to feel respected by their company.

Compensation appreciation

The majority (82.9%) of employees surveyed believe they should be paid more for the work they do, with the average worker saying they felt they should be paid $23,638 more per year.

Our results found that those earning between $25,000 and $74,999 per year are the most likely to say they deserve to be paid more (86.7%), with employees in this bracket saying they should be paid an average of $23,446 per year more than they currently earn. 

Those earning between $25,000 and $49,999 say they should be paid $19,458 more, while those between the $50,000 and $74,999 believe they should be paid $27,664 more per year.

No Yes
$0 20.00% 60.00%
$1 to $9,999 14.93% 74.63%
$10,000 to $24,999 9.49% 80.29%
$25,000 to 49,999 7.24% 86.90%
$50,000 to 74,999 6.57% 86.86%
$75,000 to 99,999 12.14% 77.86%
$100,000 to 149,999 13.51% 83.78%
$150,000 and greater 13.33% 80.00%

There’s also a difference between male and female-identifying workers, with men saying they deserve to be paid $24,193 more per year, while women say they should be paid $23,182; a $1,011 difference between men and women.

On average, white workers believe they should be paid $23,523 per year more for their work, while Black workers say they deserve an average pay increase of $20,825 per year; a difference of $2,541.

Surprisingly, with no commute to pay for, home workers say they should be paid $4,861 more per year than office workers, with the average home worker saying they should be paid $27,192 per year more, while office workers say they deserve $22,332 per year more.

Perks and appreciation

Three-quarters (75.9%) of workers describe their perks and benefits as “good”, with fewer than one in 10 (9.2%) saying their ‘perks’ are “bad”. Our data showed that those under the age of 35 are the most likely to describe their ‘perks’ as bad (9.4%), while those aged between 35 and 54 are the most likely to describe their perks as good (76.1%).

However, while many workers say their ‘perks’ might be good, they don’t always make workers feel appreciated. One in seven (13.9%) say their perks don't actually make them feel appreciated by their bosses or company as a whole; with 69.3% of workers saying their perks do make them feel appreciated. 

Male-identifying workers are the most likely to say their perks make them feel appreciated (72.6%) compared to fewer than two-thirds of female-identifying workers (67%).

When asked about which perks would make them feel most appreciated, paid vacation (31.5%) and sick (28.5%) days were the most popular choices, followed by above-inflation pay rises (28.5%), and remote working/working from home options (25.6%).

The top 10 perks that employees say would make them feel most appreciated are:

Perks & Benefits % That would choose perk
Paid Vacation Days 31.3%
Paid Sick Days 28.5%
Above Inflation Pay Rises 28.5%
Remote/WFH Options 25.6%
Life Insurance 24.8%
Flexible/Core Hours 24.3%
Personal Performance Bonus 23.2%
Company Performance Bonus 22%
Retirement Benefits 20.6%
Casual Dress Code 19.7%

Taking its toll

One in eight (12.3%) workers say their bosses (and company) do not appreciate their work/life balance, with those aged between the ages 45 and 54 the most likely to say their bosses don’t appreciate their work/life balance (15.5%).

Respondents in the utilities industry were the most likely to say their bosses don’t appreciate their work/life balance (35.7%), with those working in arts and entertainment and real estate the second most likely to report a poor life balance (both 28.6%), followed by those in accommodation and food services (26.9%).

Overall, according to our respondents, the average worker is contracted to work 38.2 hours a week, however, our results also found that workers are typically working more than they are contracted to (39.8 hours per week); with male-identifying workers typically reporting to work 40.9 hours per week, while female-identifying workers reported working 39 hours. 

One of the perks many point to with working from home is greater boundaries and it appears this could be the case with hours worked, but only slightly. On average, those working in the employer's premises work an average of 39.9 hours per week, in comparison, those that reported working from home do an average of 39.3 hours per week

Having a good work-life balance is shown to improve employee mental health, and avoid burning out. And it appears more could be done to help workers.

When asked if their job had had a negative impact on them 62% said the current role had impacted them, with women (64.1%) slightly more likely to report their work impacting them negatively than men (60.1%).

Yes
Female 64.1%
Male 60.1%

The boundaries that home workers often swear by also seem to help reduce the negative mental impact of work, while 59.6% of homeworkers reported their mental health being negatively impacted by their job, this increased 61.3% in ‘office’ workers.

Methodology

We surveyed 1,224 working adults in the U.S., of which 1,024 were currently employed by a company, between February 15, 2022 and February 24, 2022. Respondents were asked a series of questions related to the appreciation of their current managers and employers, as well as questions related to the types of workplace perks they are currently offered.

Respondents were also asked a series of questions related to their work/life balance and mental health at work, and how appreciation by managers can affect these areas.

Sources

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