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84% believe employers have an important voice in politics, society

by | Oct 3, 2017 | Public Relations

Employees want companies to take a stand on important political and social issues—and new research from employment site Glassdoor shows that more than four in five (84 percent) U.S. workers believe companies have an important voice in proposed legislation, regulation and executive orders that could affect the employer’s business or the lives of employees.

With a highly charged political climate, the survey, conducted by Harris Poll, reveals employee expectations and preferences around employer engagement on timely political and social issues.

Younger workers are most passionate about employer commitment to hot button topics

Seventy-five percent of those ages 18-34 expect their employer to take a stand on important issues affecting the country and their constitutional rights, including immigration, equal rights and climate change, more than any other age group: 67 percent ages 35-44, and 49 percent aged 45 or older. In turn, the data suggest that employers who pay attention to taking a stand on such issues may have a recruiting advantage.

84% believe employers have an important voice in politics, society

“Today’s informed candidates want to work for companies that are actively engaged on topics that directly impact their lives and align with their beliefs. The question is how and when employers should approach hot-button topics without damaging their employer brand or recruiting success,” said Dawn Lyon, Glassdoor chief reputation officer and senior vice president of global corporate affairs, in a news release.

“Employers should know that taking action is not a one-size-fits-all model. When determining how and when to engage on timely issues, it is important for employers to keep the company’s mission and core values top of mind to guide decisions,” Lyon added. “The big takeaway for employers is that today’s candidates, especially younger job seekers, want to work at companies that take a stand and take action.”

Immigrant workers are critical to business success

The survey also finds that more than half of employees and job seekers (58 percent) believe legal immigrant workers at their company are critical to the overall success of their business. Interestingly, more men (63 percent) than women (54 percent) feel this way. Across the nation, employees in the West (66 percent) feel this way more than those in the South (54 percent), Midwest (55 percent) and Northeast (61 percent).

Community and volunteer opportunities matter, especially to millennials

Giving back is also important to employees these days. Three-quarters (75 percent) of U.S. workers expect their employer to support groups and individuals in need in their respective communities, either through donations and/or volunteer efforts. This is much more important to younger workers, as 81 percent of those ages 18-34 expect this from their employer, more than any other age group: 76 percent ages 35-44, 68 percent ages 45-54, 73 percent ages 55-64 and 66 percent aged 65 or older.

In addition, volunteering for social causes is no longer limited to outside of working hours, as half of workers (51 percent) expect their employer to allow employees to use work time and resources to advocate for positive social change, regardless of political affiliation. Consistent with other age group trends within the survey’s findings, younger workers expect this more (ages 18-34; 72%) than any other age group: 56 percent ages 35-44, 37 percent ages 45-64 and 26 percent aged 65 or older.

84% believe employers have an important voice in politics, society

Additional survey data:

84 percent of employees/job seekers believe U.S. companies have an important voice in proposed legislation, regulation and executive orders that could affect their business or the lives of their employees

  • Female employees/job seekers (88 percent) are more likely than male employees/job seekers (81%) to think this is important
  • Female employees/job seekers ages 45-54 (95 percent) are more likely than their male counterparts (78%) and older females ages 55-64 (80 percent) to agree.

75 percent of employees/job seekers expect their employer to support groups and individuals in need in the communities in which they do business through donations and/or volunteer efforts.

  • Employees/Job seekers ages 18-34 (81%) are more likely than those ages 45-54 (68 percent) and those age 65+ (66 percent) to feel this way.
  • Female employees/job seekers (78 percent) are more likely than men (71 percent) to say this.
  • However, 81 percent of male employees/job seekers ages 18-34 are more likely to agree with the statement vs. 66 percent of those ages 45-64.

62 percent of employees/job seekers expect their employer to take a stand on important issues affecting our country and constitutional rights, such as immigration, equal rights, climate change, etc.

  • Those in the Midwest (53 percent) are less likely than those in the Northeast (66 percent), South (65 percent) or West (62 percent)
  • Female employees/job seekers (65 percent) are more likely than males (59 percent) to expect this

58 percent of employees/job seekers believe legal immigrant workers at their company are critical to the overall success of their business

  • Those in the West (66 percent) are more likely to believe this than those in the South (54%) or Midwest (55 percent)
  • Male employee/job seekers (63 percent) are more likely than females (54 percent) to agree with this

51 percent of employees/job seekers expect their employer to allow employees to use work time and resources to advocate for positive social change, regardless of political affiliation. 

  • Those in the Midwest (43 percent) are less likely to expect this than people in the Northeast (54 percent) or South (55 percent)
  • Those ages 18-34 (72 percent) are far more likely to expect this than other age groups:
    • 35-44 (56 percent)
    • 45-54 (38 percent)
    • 55-64 (35 percent)
    • 65+ (26 percent)
  • Employees/Job seekers whose total household income is less than $50K annually (55 percent) are slightly more likely to feel this way compared to those whose household income is $100K or more (46 percent)

Currently, many employers across the country are finding ways to give back to their communities that align with their mission and values. For instance, at Glassdoor, employees receive three paid days off each year to support nonprofit organizations of their choice, and they are given five job postings per year to donate to a nonprofit of their choosing. Both employee benefits are part of Glassdoor’s commitment to the Pledge 1% movement and align with Glassdoor’s mission to help people find a job and company they love.

The survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Glassdoor from March 30 – April 3, 2017 among 1,329 U.S. workers (who are employed or unemployed but looking) ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. 

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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