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Sloan Center News

Minding the Gap Between US Employees/Employers

14 November 2008—Train passengers in the UK are cautioned to mind the gap between the platform and the train. Similarly, when considering the quality of employment, there are many gaps employers and employees should be aware of. The Center's new Mind the Gap report series highlights the discrepancies surrounding quality employment, such as the gaps between the need and availability for various benefits, the priorities of employees of different age groups, and the policies of employers in different countries.

The first two publications in our series highlight comparisons of US Employee and US Employer Perspectives with workforces in Australia, Germany, the UK and Canada. Our analyses show that the United States has a moderate number of pay options and variations yet an unusually high number of programs available for the advancement and development of their employees. The U.S. also has a high estimated use of flexible work options at the workplace, second only to Germany. However, employers in the U.S. are less likely to use annual contracts, which increase unpredictability of work, as compared to other countries that have a moderate percentage of employers who use contracts.

From the employee’s perspective, there is a high estimated use of flexible work options the United States, and access to these options is divided fairly evenly across all age groups. Opportunities for achievement are very important to employees of all ages. In addition, he majority of US employees report a moderate to high access to a job with meaning, although workplace insecurity is considered to be moderate by the majority of employees.

The information in this series may give employers ideas about possible HR innovations from emerging policies in other countries; it also may allow employers to compare the availability of specific policies and programs at their own worksites with others that are indicators of being employers-of-choice in the United States.

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