The average American employee hasn’t received a raise at their current job in the last three years. 

That’s according to the findings of our recent survey of 2,000 American adults ahead of Labor Day. 

Although Labor Day’s core mission is to celebrate workers’ contributions to America, 46% out of the 1,859 employees polled said they feel “somewhat recognized” at work, while 8% said they don’t feel recognized at all

Generational comparisons

Respondents also laid out their top concerns about the current workforce:

  • Gen Z said they’re more concerned about the nationwide worker strikes than the lack of job security (69% vs. 49%). 
  • Meanwhile, half of millennials surveyed were more worried about salary cuts (53%) than wage gaps (49%) and worker strikes (45%).
  • The Gen X and boomer generations, however, had similar worries when it came to lack of job security (45% and 49%) and wage gaps (44% and 46%). 

The gender pay gap

Regarding pay disparities, 73% of all adults agree the gender wage gap is still very real.

In fact, almost six in 10 working men believe their current salary is influenced by their gender (58%), compared to 54% of female employees. 

Making positive changes

When it comes to making a difference in the workplace, half believe speaking directly to management is the most effective way to pressure companies and bosses to improve work conditions and pay (51%). 

Many also think labor/union strikes (49%), filing an HR complaint (40%) or posting on social media (36%) could positively change workplace conditions.

Worker strikes

As worker strikes continue to dominate headlines, 41% of respondents said they previously participated in a labor strike, while 47% had never done so. Of those who have participated in a strike, most protested for:

  • better work schedules (68%)
  • higher pay (58%)
  • better health insurance (56%)
  • better benefits (48%)

When asked if they currently belong to a union, 43% of workers said yes, while 43% said no. Most union members said joining one was the best work-related decision they’ve ever made (93%). 

This survey of 2,000 general population American adults was conducted between August 16th to 18th 2023 by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

Photo credit: image by Hannah Wei