Study: 'Emergent' Workers Thrive On Challenges; Value Performance

U.S. employees are moving away from traditional views of their employers and jobs toward a more progressive "emergent" model, according to a survey by Ft. Lauderdale-based Interim Services Inc. The 1999 Emerging Workforce Study, which was conducted in conjunction with national research and consulting firm Louis Harris & Associates Inc., N.Y., found that 22% of the workforce is "emergent," 29% is "traditional," and 49% is "migrating." Emergent workers are more concerned with gaining new experiences and having opportunities for mentoring and growth. They feel more in control of their careers and want an employer that rewards them based on performance. Traditional workers are more concerned with job security, stability, and clear direction. They feel that an employer is responsible for providing a clear career path and in return deserves an employee's long-term commitment. Migrating employees have mixed views but are migrating toward emergent values, according to Interim. Talent recruiter Interim believes the shift toward emergent values is a result of the downsizings of the '80s and '90s -- workers are no longer content to depend on their employers for job security and career development. The emergent worker spans across all age groups, industries, and regions and is expected to represent the majority of the American workforce in the near future, Interim notes. Other survey findings:

  • The emergent workforce does not like to follow rules or organizational charts, but thrives on gaining new experiences even if it is stressful.
  • Emergent workers like working for companies whose values match their own, strongly rejecting traditionally minded employers.
  • Ratings of job satisfaction, trust in employer, quality of management, and loyalty to employer were 25% higher from respondents who reported that their supervisor was their friend.
  • The study results dispels the myth of a slowdown among older workers age 53 and up. Older workers will become increasingly important to fill labor shortages.
  • No matter how much a company invests in fringe benefits, a bad supervisor can override that effort and cause employees to leave.
For more information on the study's findings, contact Interim's corporate communications department at 800-422-3819.
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