The Truth About What Employees Want: A Guide to Navigating the Hyper-Competitive U.S. Labor Market | Mercer

Workforce Trends

Worker preferences, expectations, and values continue to shift. And given these areas can vary significantly by individual, it is challenging for firms to understand the extent to which workers’ expectations are changing. A few reports have highlighted the disconnect between what employers think workers want and what they prefer, including a McKinsey article that focused on worker expectations for hybrid work. As firms understand worker expectations across myriad factors, this 18-page report provides insights based on findings from multiple Mercer research studies, spanning over 4,000 US employees and 1,300 employers. One insight is that while there has been much discussion about the Great Resignation, specific workers segments—such as frontline, low-wage, minority, and lower-level employees— are more likely to leave, at rates significantly higher than historical norms (see page 7). The report shares which values and concerns (e.g., mental health, financial concerns, etc.) are top of mind for these worker segments and provides recommended actions firms can take to address those concerns. Although there are inherent limitations in understanding worker preferences by segment or demographics—given individual needs can vary significantly within segments—these broader insights can help firms be aware of common themes. It should be noted that, across all demographics, physical and mental health claimed the top spot in employees’ list of concerns.

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