This Is The Current State Of The American Workplace

A glimpse of workplace trends on the rise.

This Is The Current State Of The American Workplace
[Photo: Collin Armstrong]

The world of work is changing pretty rapidly, but one thing has been pretty consistent over the past few years: Workers are feeling optimistic about their prospects. The U.S. economy keeps adding jobs at a healthy clip and unemployment remains at pre-Recession lows, making this a jobseekers’ market.


Here’s a look at the current state of the American workplace:

We’d All Like To Jump Ship

According to the latest Gallup report on the American Workplace, a record 47% of the workforce says now is a good time to find a quality job, and more than half of employees (51%) are searching for new jobs or watching for openings. That may be due in part to lack of enthusiasm for their current job. Only one-third of U.S. employees said they are engaged in their work and workplace and about one in five fault their managers for failing to motivate them. But they also say that their employers aren’t really giving them compelling reasons to stay, with 91% reporting the last time they changed jobs, they left their company to do so.

Other top reasons workers are jumping ship, according to Glassdoor, are company culture, salary, or getting stuck in the same job for too long. On average, a 10% higher base pay is associated with a 1.5% higher chance the employee will stick around.


Just don’t look at millennials solely as the job-hoppers. A new report from Namely, an HR management platform, analyzed data from over 125,000 employees that busted this myth. Baby boomers are most likely to switch jobs, with a median tenure of just 2.53 years.

We All Want To Work in Tech (Or At Disney)

Turns out that whether or not we know how to code, many of us are working toward jobs at major tech firms. This is evidenced by LinkedIn data based on the social network’s users’ actions including job application numbers, the number of professionals who viewed a company’s career page, and the amount of time people remained employed at each company.

The most-desired workplaces include:

  1. Alphabet (Google)
  2. Amazon
  3. Facebook
  4. Salesforce
  5. Uber
  6. Tesla
  7. Apple
  8. Time Warner
  9. Walt Disney
  10. Comcast

The reasons are consistent with Gallup’s and Glassdoor’s findings in that employees want to work for companies with excellent culture (this research was complied before Uber’s culture implosion), great salaries, benefits, and perks, and overall size of the staff.

We Will Be Using Our Phones Even More

We are all on our phones all day, and now the hiring process is increasingly going mobile. Nielsen found that texting is the most used data service in the world with an estimated 18.7 billion texts sent worldwide every day, while a recent survey from Yello found that out of the more than 1,400 adults under 30 surveyed, 86% reported feeling positive about getting text messages during the interview period.

We’re Doing More Work Remotely

The option to work outside the office isn’t a reality for all workers (looking at you, IBM), but Gallup’s report reveals that flexible scheduling and work-from-home opportunities are major considerations when an employee takes or leaves a job.


No wonder the latest FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics report found that the number of people telecommuting in the U.S. increased 115% between 2005 and 2015. That’s 3.9 million U.S. employees, or 2.9% of the total U.S. workforce, who reported working from home at least half of the time. The trend cuts evenly across genders but is most common among those 46 years of age or older.

More of Us Are Working Independently

The total number of self-employed Americans aged 21 and above rose to 40.9 million in 2017, up 2.8% from 2016. That’s about a third (31%) of the U.S. civilian labor force, made up of all demographics, including age, gender, skill, and income group, according to MBO Partners, a provider of technology for independent workers.

Thanks to demand for skilled workers, over 3 million of independent workers make more than $100,000 per year. For those who are not self-employed, wage gains have slowed, so more are taking gig work on the side. These occasional independents (those working irregularly or sporadically as independents but at least once per month) now make up a cohort of 12.9 million, up from 10.5 million in 2016.


About the author

Lydia Dishman is a staff editor for Fast Company's Work Life section. She has written for CBS Moneywatch, Fortune, The Guardian, Popular Science, and the New York Times, among others.