December 17, 2011
It’s the working person’s game of Would You Rather?, where employees are presented with options and told to choose the lesser evil:
Would you rather keep your end-of-year bonus, your pay raise, your health benefits… or your job?
Put that way, the choice is clear (Job. It’s your job.) And when staffing company Randstad U.S. surveyed more than 3,000 full-time workers about what they would be willing to sacrifice to keep their jobs, respondents tossed all kinds of benefits, bonuses and vacation overboard.
Despite the unemployment rate at a 2.5-year low, the survey shows that American workers are as insecure in their jobs as ever.
Choices Depend on Perspective
When the survey asked what the workers would be willing to do to keep their current jobs, nearly a quarter of those surveyed said they would be willing to work longer hours for the same pay. Another 23 percent would be open to a reduction in benefits. Twenty-two percent would be willing to sacrifice vacation days, and 24 percent would be open to losing their annual bonus opportunity. Only 35 percent of workers would refuse to sacrifice anything.
Our takeaway isn’t exactly a shock: It’s an employers’ market. Employees are scrambling to prove their devotion and their value to a workforce that has cyclically shed workers over the last decade, and who can blame them? It’s easy to get righteous about using full benefits, but that perspective often discounts the all-too-real precariousness of many jobs — which probably explains why employees have been forfeiting $34.3 billion of vacation days this year to prove their loyalty to employers.
They would rather keep their jobs.
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