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Survey of Global Workers Reveals 'Satisfaction Gaps' and Consensus on What's Important at Work

New Research Being Discussed Today at NYC Event Co-hosted by SHRM and Seyfarth

SHRM shared groundbreaking research today on the needs and desires of different types of workers in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States during a convening to discuss how global business leaders, civic organizations and policymakers can work together to secure the lives and livelihoods of the workers of today and tomorrow.  

 The research and convening are part of the SHRM Global Worker Project, which is focused on building a shared, human-centered understanding of the future of the workplace by informing public policy recommendations and best practices on how workers and employers can thrive.  


“The SHRM Global Worker Project is taking a look at how we can create better workplaces through the lens of what workers need and desire, which we think is where positive change should start, said Emily M. Dickens, chief of staff & head of public affairs at SHRM, who facilitated the event. “Our data-driven approach to all we do led us to survey workers and ask them what they want, and will allow us to make informed recommendations to global policy, business and civic leaders on how best to support employers and employees in the modern economy.” 


Presenting the research findings today were Seyfarth Shaw LLP partners Camille A. Olson and Richard B. Lapp, who co-lead Seyfarth’s thought leadership with SHRM on the Global Worker Project.  


“I am thrilled to convene with other thought leaders in New York City to discuss and build on SHRM’s Global Worker Research and to use it and the insights of global leaders to build a more inclusive set of modern policies and initiatives that embrace and support the diverse workers in today’s global workplace,” Olson said. 


The types of workers surveyed include full-time salaried employees, full-time hourly employees, part-time employees, temporary employees and independent contractors/self-employed business owners. Key findings include: 


  • More than 80 percent of all workers rate fair compensation, job security, workload manageability, and flexibility to manage work and life issues as very or extremely important. 
  • Many workers of all types hold down more than one job. This ranges from the predictable 57 percent of independent workers to the unexpected 29 percent of full-time salaried employees work more than one job. 
  • There are wide “satisfaction gaps” between the importance workers assign to key job features and their current level of satisfaction in those areas. A sampling: 
    • Part-time employees experience a 52 percent gap on fair compensation/pay. 
    • Independent workers experience a 39 percent gap in their sense of job security/stability at work. 
    • Full-time hourly employees experience a 35 percent gap on their flexibility to manage work and life issues. 
    • Full-time salaried employees experience a 34 percent gap on their workload manageability. 
    • Temporary employees experience a 27 percent gap on their opportunity to do meaningful work. 

Plans are underway to expand Global Worker Project research efforts to include additional countries.  


Additional speakers and presenters at today’s event include Ronnie Goldberg, Senior Counsel, United States Council for International Business; Shea Gopaul, IOE Permanent Representative to the UN and Co-Chair, UN Business & Industry Major Group; Hollie Heikkinen, CEO/Founder, iWorker Innovation; Danny Kaufer, Senior Counsel & Co-Chair, Sports & Gaming Law Group, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP; Rajesh D. Nayak, Assistant Secretary for Policy, U.S. Department of Labor; Vanessa Ortega, Consul of the Protection Department, Consulate General of Mexico in New York; and Paul Thanos, Director, Office of Finance and Insurance Industries, U.S. Department of Commerce.  


SHRM launched the Global Worker Project with world policy and business leaders in Geneva, Switzerland, in July. In addition to expanding the research efforts to include additional countries, the SHRM Global Worker Project plans to issue data-driven policy recommendations for employers and policymakers. 




SHRM creates better workplaces where employers and employees thrive together. As the voice of all things work, workers and the workplace, SHRM is the foremost expert, convener and thought leader on issues impacting today’s evolving workplaces. With nearly 325,000 members in 165 countries, SHRM impacts the lives of more than 235 million workers and families globally. 


Seyfarth is a global law firm with more than 900 lawyers across 17 offices worldwide. Seyfarth has earned a reputation as a leader in labor and employment law, real estate, litigation and transactional legal services. 


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