Research Topics

Workforce Policy & Practice

The Heldrich Center conducted a number of Work Trends surveys to delve into the impacts of the Great Recession. Perhaps the most profound look came from Voices of the Unemployed, which featured verbatim comments from American workers who lost their jobs during the recession. The comments focused on what workers thought government should do to help the unemployed and what they felt would be most helpful to them in getting a new job.

A series of Work Trends reports focused on retirement, and explored the opinions of Americans as they described their expectations of retirement as well as their views of how older workers are treated in the workforce. In Taking Stock of Retirement, workers described a workplace in which trust between employer and employee is often lacking, while employers’ views are in contrast, stating the workplace is harmonious.

The Heldrich Center conducted several Work Trends surveys of recent high school and college graduates to gain insights into how they fared in the workforce, specifically those who graduated before, during, and in the wake of the Great Recession. In Chasing the American Dream, one in two college graduates were employed full time and 26% were working part time. One in five attended graduate or professional school and 12% were unemployed or underemployed.

A series of Work Trends surveys examined American workers’ opinions about their work-life balance and feelings about the economy. Disquiet about the economy and uncertainty of the future were expressed in Anxious American Worker. Overall job satisfaction remained high at the time of the survey, though the positive number masked underlying concerns such as work life and hours worked. At a Crossroads examined concerns about the state of the economy on the eve of the 2004 presidential election.

In 2002, the Heldrich Center conducted a survey of American workers on their views related to the contentious issue of discrimination in the workplace. The survey examined how workers perceive and experience discrimination, as well as what they expect government and employers to do about discrimination in the workplace. Survey respondents described two very different workplaces. Whites described a workplace where equitable treatment is accorded to all, few personally experience discrimination, and few offer support for policies to correct past discrimination.