HR Tech Firm Formerly Known as StepStone Solutions Offers Look at Worker Attitudes

May 10, 2011
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

Here’s an interesting statistic from the HR software firm formerly known as StepStone Solutions: In the U.S., 37 percent of men and 24 percent of women enjoy going to work every day.

Now I see three ways of looking at that bit of intel about U.S. workers, which is drawn from a 14-nation survey of employee attitudes conducted in April by the company formerly known as StepStone Solutions.

First, of course, is the gender disparity. Men may enjoy going to work more because more men (77 percent) than women (55 percent) have had a pay raise since 2008. Or possibly because more men (73 percent) than women (59 percent) are confident their company will reward them for extra effort or taking on extra responsibilities.

Another way of looking at this is that 63 percent of men and 76 percent of women don’t enjoy going to work every day. That’s the biggest part of the American workforce. (But not your workers, since they are a fat and happy lot. ) Compare that to the pay-raise data and it reminds you of that old adage about money not buying happy workers.

A third way, my preferred way, of looking at the data, is that there must be something wrong with those men and women. Really. Who enjoys going to work every day? Even those of us who love our jobs, our colleagues, and find the work rewarding in itself have days when we’d rather be elsewhere.

When I was a hiring manager, most candidates I interviewed gave me some version of the “I love what I do” speech. The few who actually convinced me that going to work was all they loved or wanted to do, every day, all the time, they didn’t get hired. All work and no play makes Johnny a fairly single-focused boy who lacks the perspectives that extra-curricular activities provide and that I wanted in my department.

Fortunately, the survey by the company formerly known as StepStone Solutions included some additional questions about this work enjoyment thing. Accordingly, without regard to sex, the U.S. workers break down this way: 29 percent enjoy going to work every day; 48 percent enjoy most days, 21 percent not very often or less.

I’m still troubled by that 29 percent group. I suspect that what the majority really meant when they answered “every day” was that they mostly enjoyed going to work every day, all things considered. That 48 percent group, of course, answered truthfully and, as a friend of mine who is a psychologist would say, they are in touch with their feelings.

That last group, I hope, is looking for a new job.

There are some other findings from the survey. Chinese workers are almost three times as likely as the global average to report getting big pay raises. Mid-career workers are the least happy workers globally; Scandinavian workers are the happiest overall. Almost 40 percent of workers 56 to 50 believe they will be recognized and rewarded for hard work or extra responsibility; only 19 percent of Gen Y (18–25) agree.

The complete survey of some 4,000 workers won’t be available until sometime next month. But Lumesse, which is the company formerly known as StepStone Solutions, released some initial results along with the news of its rebranding. Last year, StepStone Solutions was bought from its German owner, Axel Springer, in a management buyout. Months later, in August, it bought SaaS recruitment tech vendor MrTed.

Now, the company has changed its name to Lumesse, establishing its own brand to distinguish itself from its one-time parent company, job board operator StepStone. The names, says Michelle Martin, global head of marketing, “reflects the kind of company our people said they want to work for — vibrant, human, fun but focused, global in scale but local in execution…”

Lumesse is headquartered in the U.K. It has offices in Texas, Germany, and Hong Kong.

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.