Study finds three-of-four American workers report experiencing job burnout

High levels of job burnout, widespread reliance on second jobs and “side gigs,” and declining confidence in workers’ job security – these are just three signs of turbulence in the American workplace as outlined in the second annual Work Confidence survey from online learning destination Skye Learning.

The online national survey of 1,016 American workers found that just under three-of-four (74 percent) report experiencing “job burnout” at least occasionally; one-of-six (17 percent) say they feel burnt out very often. Reports of job burnout are noticeably higher among younger workers than among those over the age of 45.

Fully 33 percent of workers in the survey say they have a part-time job or “side gig” that supplements their regular incomes. Another 29 percent of workers say they are thinking of getting a second job. At the same time, workers are less confident that they’ll be able to hold on to their current jobs; just 82 percent say they are confident they’ll still be employed in a year’s time – down from 93 percent in 2018.

Workers are also slightly less confident in the overall U.S. economy than they were a year ago. Three-of-five (60 percent) say they are very or fairly confident that the American economy will be in good shape in a year’s time – down from 64 percent in the 2018 Work Confidence survey.

“Taken together, these findings suggest that the American workplace is going through a period of turbulence and uncertainty,” said Sandra Slager, president of Skye Learning. “As digital transformation continues to accelerate, it’s increasingly important to build workforce skills that apply in a strong economy, but also ones that can withstand market changes, enhance workers’ satisfaction, and empower people with autonomy in the gig economy.”

Job Burnout and Workplace Satisfaction 
Roughly half (48 percent) of survey respondents say they work at least eight hours a day, with 40 percent saying they work from eight to 12 hours on a daily basis. Among the 74 percent of workers who report experiencing at least some job burnout, the most prevalent reasons for this condition include:

  • Lack of time for their personal lives: 38 percent
  • Lack of opportunity for advancement: 26 percent
  • Negative workplace environment: 23 percent
  • Unclear job expectations: 21 percent
  • Bad relationship with your boss: 14 percent
  • Not enough training to do your job: 11 percent
  • Bad relationships with coworkers: 10 percent
  • Not enough responsibility: 8 percent

Further, three-of-four (74 percent) workers say they are happy with their current jobs, with 31 percent characterizing themselves as very happy. But:

  • Noticeably fewer – 62 percent – say they are satisfied with their salary.
  • Fewer than half (47 percent) would stay at their current job if they didn’t need the money.

Side Gigs
The prevalence of second jobs or “side gigs” is higher among younger workers:

  • 33 percent among workers aged 21 to 30
  • 41 percent among workers aged 31 to 45
  • 27 percent among workers aged 46 to 59
  • 30 percent among workers aged 60 and older

Among those who hold a second job, 43 percent say that their “side gig” accounts for half or more of their total income.

Just over half (51 percent) of all respondents say they have earned one or more certifications – exam-based credentials awarded by an industry-recognized group. Among those with certifications, fully 52 percent say that, when it comes to preparing them with the skills they need for work, those certifications are more important than their formal education.

Overall, 58 percent of workers say they currently have the job skills they need to remain employable over the next several years – a noticeable decline from last year, when this measure stood at 66 percent.

About the Methodology
Skye Learning’s Work Confidence study was conducted online between July 30 and August 6, 2019. The sample included 1,016 U.S. residents, aged 21 to 70, who are employed on some level (full time, part time, freelance, etc.) and who have completed a high school education or higher. Data collection was overseen by Qualtrics; the survey results have a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percent, at a 95 percent confidence level.

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