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

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.

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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.

John Zappe is the editor of TLNT.com and a contributing editor of ERE.net. John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.

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18 Comments on “HR Tech Firm Formerly Known as StepStone Solutions Offers Look at Worker Attitudes

  1. This is very interesting:

    1) In the U.S., 37 percent of men and 24 percent of women enjoy going to work every day. 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.
    -Could it be that’s because women typically make less than men for similar work, work that’s predominantly done by women is lower paid and less-respected than work done predominantly by men, and a very small percentage of companies have substantial numbers of women in the top positions?

    2) 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.
    -And they say the younger gernerations never learn anything!

    3) Scandinavian workers are the happiest overall.
    -It’s funny how great benefits, a concept of workplace equality, and a strong social safety net might contribute to this…

    Perhaps Stepstone Solutions should have kept their old name. To me, the new name “Lumesse” conjurs up:

    “Lumesse- with lumiance:
    For shining, vibrant hair” or

    “Lumesse- do not use Lumesse while operating heavy machinery or driving. Side effects may include drousiness, nausea, muscle spasms, homicidal mania, uncontrollable itching, inabillity to rockn’roll, or death. Reports of spontaneous combustion while using Lumesse have been reported. Do not use Lumesse if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are related to someone who has ever been pregnant.
    Lumesse- when there’s nothing left to lose…..

    Cheers,

    Keith “That’s How I See It” Halperin

  2. So… as the person who ran the Lumesse survey John covers so well above, I’m glad to see you found the findings interesting. 🙂

    What surprised me was the level of consistency in many of the findings across the 14 countries we surveyed (essentially the countries where Lumesse has a team in place). The attitudes of people in, say, China, were in many ways identical to the attitudes in Norway, the US, Italy, etc. Things like the usefulness of appraisal/review processes, the level of trust they felt they enjoyed, the training and mobility oportunities were surpringly similar and, in most places, ‘not great’ would be a handy summary…. 😉

    But we also found quite a few differences, especially in areas like ‘How much you enjoy going to work’ as noted above. Now, some of these might be due to national characteristics, and some down to the experiences that people have had post-credit crunch, but we did try to word our questions carefully to get genuine, heartfelt responses.

    I am going to be doing a lot of number-crunching on the survey data (something like 80,000 data points…) over the next few weeks, with the aim of offering up some conclusions that will be both insightful and useful.

    I welcome any comments, questions or input. 🙂

    Andrew Rodaway
    Director of Communications
    Lumesse
    andrew.rodaway@lumesse.com

  3. Alas Stepstone, we hardly knew ye: of most excellent fancy; they hath borne deals on their back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination as Lumesse, dwelling with Recruitmax and it’s ghost of a ghost Vurv in the region of made up words where Taleo mightly rules; itself a ghost of Recruitsoft.

    P.S. not to invoke Godwin or anything, but the word sounds to my ear like a lesser agency of a certain unloved and defunct government of the last century….

  4. I think you’ve been spending too much time with your Kindle. 😉

    Seriously, finding a good new company name that:

    1) Works in 50+ languages (that’s what we support…)
    2) Doesn’t offend in some obscure dialect
    3) Has an available domain (and about 200 other national TLDs) to register
    4) Can be trademarked and protected in most regions
    5) Doesn’t suck.

    …ain’t easy.

    A.

  5. @ Martin: Bravo!

    @Andrew: I like “Ain’t Easy,” but it’s probably Old Church Slavonic for “cross-eyed” or something.

    Keith “Former Co-owner of MyIPOJob.com Domain Name” Halperin

  6. The data are fascinating and I agree, Keith on the evidence from Scandinavia. Obvious lessons from someplace calle “not here” are often the hardest to learn and accept.

    As for the name, it will sink into daily unremarked use in due course. We get used to all kinds of oddly created non-words, Accenture and Taleo and … even Lumesse I suppose.

  7. @Paul: I agree, and fear that Americans are very reluctant to learn from other countries best and worst practices: It doesn’t count if it didn’t come from here.

  8. “I’m still troubled by that 29 percent group”

    Could the 29% who enjoy going to work every day possibly have small children in the home? Office politics or tantrums and food throwing – I know which I’d pick.

  9. I find it interesting that we would try to find some excuse for why a person says they enjoy what they do. Thinking that “it must have just been a good day” when they were surveyed or that they really didn’t mean what they responded is a dangerous leap in using survey data like this. It doesn’t seem that the “reasons” for saying a person enjoyed their work was asked (correct me if I am wrong here Andrew).

    Going to work everyday to me is not working 24×7 and I would submit that most of the folks in Andrew’s survey looked at it that way too (clarify if you can Andrew). It seems that the intent of the question is “do you enjoy working everyday that you are AT work” – interpretation can get tricky (this is why professional survey experts are used and poll results vary widely). Making the point that someone who enjoys their work should be overlooked because they are too focused on it and don’t spend time being well rounded is hard to accept. In fact, these are the very workers my clients seek out to employ.

    Although I personally find the 29% number of happy U.S. workers very high, as our economy continues to evolve why should we question that there are people out there that love their jobs, who are making a difference and don’t look forward to Friday Happy Hour each week. As John points out the 71% of people that don’t enjoy their work is where we as Talent Professionals really need to concentrate our efforts…

  10. Here’s the raw US data:

    Do you enjoy going to work?
    Responses Percent
    Yes, I enjoy work every day 121 29%
    Most days 198 48%
    Sometimes 60 15%
    Not very often 22 5%
    No, I really don’t enjoy my job 13 3%

    We used a third-party survey company that specialises in consumer and employee panels, and they gave us a lot of advice on building the questions for clean responses (basically, simple is good) and on selecting the survey population (companies that form our target audience as a vendor). We didn’t ask for reasons but we can and will cross-correlate data against other factors like company size, gender, age, job satisfaction, etc.

    I don’t think one should draw too many deep conclusions from such a survey – we were more interested, for example, in general country-to-country comparisons, and in people’s attitudes to things like training, performance reviews, mobility, etc. One thing is immediately clear – while people by and large are pretty happy in their work, I think employers can do a lot more for them – things like workplace trust and connection between effort and reward didn’t do so well, and this was uniform worldwide.

  11. Andrew – I think you’re right to say not to draw too many conclusions from a survey with a very client focused target population and only 414 respondents…

    Please don’t take this the wrong way as I am very aware of the cost and effort that go into a survey of 400 – and of course multiplying that by the several countries only added to that effort.

    We conducted a survey for our business pertaining to Company Specific Talent Groups with 275 executives surveyed – 92% wanted one – but it was conducted as market research, not for marketing and public relations. Aside from Lumesse, do you think that this survey adds clarity to the general Talent Mgmt community? (BTW – I can definitely sympathize with the naming convention difficulties… 🙂

  12. Some thoughts from the great on the subject:

    The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office.

    -Robert Frost

    Temperament, in psychology, is an aspect of personality concerned with emotional dispositions and reactions and their speed and intensity; the term often is used to refer to the prevailing mood or mood pattern of a person {…} Modern psychology attributes primary importance to the activity of the autonomic nervous system, particularly its sympathetic branch, in emotional reactivity: autonomic over-responsiveness is intimately linked with neurotic dispositions. Because such responses can be conditioned, individual differences in ease of conditioning (also probably innate) also play a part in determining temperament. See also character.

    -Encyclopedia Britannica

    A job aint nothin but work

    -Big Daddy Kane

  13. Wanted: Foreign Workers For Germany’s Job Boom
    by Eric Westervelt

    May 12, 2011

    While the U.S., the U.K. and much of Europe brace for spending cuts and austerity, Germany is in the midst of an economic boom.

    Germany has emerged from the financial crisis faster and in far better shape than the rest of Europe. The German growth rate almost doubled in the first quarter of 2011; corporate profits have soared, and industrial production is expected to keep growing — at least for the rest of this year.

    But as manufacturers add extra shifts, there’s a new shortage of skilled workers — and that’s led to renewed calls to ease restrictions on immigration.

    Economically speaking, Germany is a land of opportunity right now, especially for engineers and IT specialists. But with strict immigration laws and an abundance of red tape, work visas remain unissued, positions unfilled, and both German business and foreign skilled workers are losing out.

    “We need 70,000 engineers, for instance,” says Armin Laschet, the whip for the Christian Democratic Union in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The conservative CDU usually doesn’t call for more immigration, but Laschet says that needs to change if Germany is to remain economically strong.

    “If they don’t come to Germany, we have in the future a problem, because our demographic situation is so that we are getting older as a society,” Laschet says. “We need people from outside to come to Germany.”

    Laschet is chairman of a newly formed national working group of high-level German political and business leaders. Their mission is to get the government to move quickly to adopt a more business-friendly immigration policy.

    Some restrictions on immigrant workers from Eastern Europe are set to expire next month, but Laschet says that’s hardly enough. Non-European Union citizens still face huge hurdles.

    Currently, most non-EU citizens have to be earning the equivalent of nearly $90,000 in order to qualify for a work visa. That rule disqualifies all but a small percentage of skilled workers.

    The working group wants to lower the minimum income barrier and ease other restrictions, but Laschet recognizes that when it comes to immigration, not all hurdles are with laws and regulations.

    “Germany has to change,” he says. “We still have discrimination. We have not the diversity we need. I think this is what the German people, what the German state, has to learn: Diversity is richness and we need different cultures in our country.”

    A Seeker’s Market At The Job Fair

    The threat that the skills shortage poses to Germany’s production lines is tangible. At a recent job fair inside a 1920s-era glass and metal exhibition hall on the outskirts of Dresden, the frantic ones weren’t the job seekers so much as the companies worried about finding enough workers to fill key posts.

    “The day is fully packed, and I’m very busy, but that’s a very good problem to have, right?” says Hans Jurgen Neufing, a senior recruiter at Global Foundries, a Silicon Valley-based semiconductor supply firm with its European headquarters in Dresden. Neufing says his company is busy looking to hire some 1,500 people, including engineers and technicians, for its Dresden plant, as well as for manufacturing centers in Singapore and upstate New York.

    “We are seeing a great boom right now, so our overall outlook for the economy and the semiconductor business is great,” Neufing says. “We are hiring a very significant number of positions, and so we had to adapt our recruiting strategies to this amount of people coming on board.”

    It’s not just global companies that are hiring in Germany; a centerpiece of the country’s industrial economy are its “mittlestand” firms — often midsized, highly specialized companies that are usually family-owned and run. Trumpf is one such company; it produces industrial cutting and welding machines that help make everything from VW car parts to surgical tables and washing machine drums.

    Half of Trumpf’s 8,000 employees are in Germany. Nineteen-year-old Patrick Wiedemann wears a neatly pressed shirt and dress pants, his hair slicked back with gel. He’s finishing a technician apprenticeship with Trumpf and will take up a full-time job with them next year. Wiedemann, who’s from a rural village just outside of Dresden, is almost gleefully optimistic despite the fact that most of Europe is still slowly emerging from the worst recession in a generation.

    “I’m not in the slightest bit worried about the future,” he says. “I have absolute faith that my company will look after me. Crises happen, but machines will always need building.”

    Not All Jobs Are Created To Be Equal

    New data show that the rate of German business growth is slowing down somewhat as a carefully watched business climate index fell in April. As one economist put it, “In face of the high oil prices, the Japanese crisis and other risks, it was to be expected that companies would not have quite such a rosy outlook anymore.”

    But labor union officials charge that, overall, recent German government efforts to deregulate and liberalize the employment market have led to a kind of Americanization of the job market. Real wages are stagnant.

    Dirk Hirschel is chief economist at Germany’s largest service sector trade union, Verdi. He says the last 10 years have seen a sharp rise in the number of temporary jobs without full benefits and the eradication of nearly 2.5 million full-time, permanent ones.

    “The quality of jobs changed dramatically in the way that we have what we call ‘precarious employment’ in Germany,” he says. “So we are talking about temporary jobs — jobs not connected to the social security system. Seven million people are working for less than 8 euros in Germany per hour. So we have the second-biggest low-wage sector behind the U.S.”

    Hershel says while the union is not opposed to bringing in more skilled foreign workers, the government could do a lot more at home to boost job quality and employment. He’ll have time to get his point across. The high-level working group on immigration reform isn’t due to present its proposals to Parliament until October.

  14. Martin – well put…but I differ:

    – an EMT that brings a drowning victim back to life – just a job?
    – a janitor that maintains a dry walk space eliminating falls and accidents – just a job?
    – a taxi driver that gets a pregnant woman to the hospital on time – just a job?
    – Minnie Mouse at Disney World who lights up every 4 year old girl’s face: everyday – just a job?
    – a Wal Mart Greeter who brings a smile and a helpful hand to everyone coming through the door – just a job?

    I can go on and on…work is what you make of it – sure any of the average jobs outlined above can also be done by someone who views it as “just work” – but if we were able to do better putting people in jobs that have the motivation and get the bang out of it like those I’ve outlined – your “job ain’t nothing but work” mantra would get real tired quickly…

    Interestingly – we have the tools to make this type of hiring determination available to us today – if we start to embrace it, feed it, we can begin to hack into the huge percentage of people that can’t wait for quitting time…

  15. > Aside from Lumesse, do you think that this survey adds clarity to the general Talent Mgmt community?

    Good question. I guess when you have 4000 people in 14 countries consistently saying that their peformance management processes aren’t that good, or that many don’t have a clear idea of career progression, or that good training isn’t readily available to them you know that the TM business has some work to do…. 😉

  16. Well put Andrew…

    Now besides the JobVite survey of late last year, anyone know of a recent TM survey covering this type of information with several thousand responses in the U.S. market only?

  17. Martin – well put…but I differ:

    – an EMT that brings a drowning victim back to life – just a job?
    – a janitor that maintains a dry walk space eliminating falls and accidents – just a job?
    – a taxi driver that gets a pregnant woman to the hospital on time – just a job?
    – Minnie Mouse at Disney World who lights up every 4 year old girl’s face: everyday – just a job?
    – a Wal Mart Greeter who brings a smile and a helpful hand to everyone coming through the door – just a job?

    No, most of these aren’t “just a job”: they’re “just a low-paid/underpaid job”.

    We have millions of mind-numbing, soul-killing, dead-end positions that still are filled because people have to do what they have to do to get by. Having had my share of those in the past, I say: “God help you if you identify yourself with your work when you’re doing stuff like that”. Sometimes your work needs to be a means to an end, rather than an end in itself…

    Cheers,

    Keith

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