Skip to main content
Visit our new News website at
Friday, May 11, 2012 - 1:45pm

WORKING: Attitude Check

Staffing firm Randstad said this week workers feel more secure in their jobs and are more optimistic about the future.

In its quarterly look at workers’ attitudes and how engaged they are at their jobs, Randstad also found fewer people are willing to make sacrifices to keep their jobs.

Brandon Smith explains why workers are feeling better and what that means for organizations.

Brandon Smith teaches about leadership, communication, and workplace culture at Emory University's Goizueta Business School. More of his advice is on his blog and at And while you’re there, ask him your workplace or career question. We might use your question on a future radio segment.

More from the Randstad Engagement Index:

Measuring the Six Components of Engagement

  • 78 percent of employees feel inspired to do their best each day.
  • Almost three-fourths (74 percent) of employees are proud to work for their company.
  • 68 percent of employees enjoy going to work every day, up 3 percent from March 2011.
  • 63 percent of employees feel their efforts at work are recognized and valued.
  • 62 percent indicate they trust their company leadership to make good workforce decisions.
  • 65 percent believe their company shares their values, up 5 percent from March 2011.

Industry Pulse

The Randstad Engagement Index also gauges insights by industry to identify workforce trends across the general employee base and within key industry sectors, including healthcare, finance and accounting, engineering, pharma and IT. Industry result highlights include:


  • Only 6 percent of healthcare employees surveyed blame their job performance overall for potential job loss.
  • Of each key industry surveyed, healthcare workers are the least likely at 37 percent to believe the economy negatively altered their career plans.

Finance and Accounting:

  • Almost half (43 percent) of finance and accounting employees surveyed feel left behind in their career because of the poor economy and job market.
  • Only 16 percent of finance and accounting employees surveyed are concerned about losing their jobs.


  • Engineers are the most likely at 69 percent to believe that the job market will pick up in 2012.
  • Engineers are more optimistic than any other sector around getting a raise (68 percent) and a promotion (37 percent).
  • Engineers are the most willing of all sectors surveyed to consider making sacrifices to keep their job, including nearly half (45 percent) who are willing to take a vacation time reduction.

Pharma/Life Sciences:

  • Pharma employees are the least likely of all sectors at 34 percent to accept an enticing job offer from another company.
  • Pharma employees are also the least likely of any sector to take precautionary measures due to fear of job loss, with less than a third reporting that they are cutting back on expenses (28 percent) and only 21 percent trying to put more money towards savings.
  • If they were to lose their job in the near future, 31 percent (the most of any sector) expect it to take more than six months to find a new job.

Information Technology:

  • Eight in ten IT employees feel secure in their employment.
  • At 53 percent, IT employees are the most likely compared to other sectors to be planning to explore other job options when the job market improves.
  • More than half (52 percent) of IT employees expect their company to expand its workforce.


The Randstad Engagement Index is comprised of findings from quarterly waves of research targeting employees and annual surveys of employers. The fourth wave of findings was conducted February 10-20, 2012. A national sample of 3,063 adults aged 18 and older who are currently employed full time from Ipsos’ U.S. online panel were interviewed online. Weighting was used to balance demographics and ensure samples reflect the U.S. population of working adults.

Employees and employers were surveyed to compare notable differences in perceptions and attitudes. Multiple waves of research allow for trending and to track changes in perceptions and attitudes over time. Research into employee attitudes and perceptions will be conducted quarterly. Research into employer attitudes and perceptions will be conducted on an annual basis.