Checking Monster.com at Work
University of Phoenix, offering education and degree programs for busy adults, found more than 67 percent of working adults are looking for a job, although 76 percent are satisfied at their current place of employment. The university polled nearly 2,500 professionals in diverse industries to determine what keeps them happy, motivated and loyal in a changing workplace.
“It’s not surprising that workers are exploring their options, given that jobs are more plentiful,” said Laura Palmer Noone, president of University of Phoenix. “They have been sitting idle just waiting for the economy to improve.”
Better pay was cited by 58 percent as the primary reason for jumping ship, one-third would leave for more interesting or rewarding work, and 26 percent would resign for positions of greater responsibility. Lack of opportunities for advancement at their current company was reported by 47 percent.
“Employers need to take note,” Noone said. “Today’s workers, especially the younger generations, are increasingly mobile, and helping them climb the corporate ladder is a key factor in retaining them.” She suggests that managers establish a career path for their staff and provide tools to help them achieve career goals.
Employees said the best parts of their current job are co-workers and good management (26 percent), followed by flexibility/hours (14 percent), job satisfaction (10 percent) and benefits/vacation (9 percent).
Stress and low pay tied as the worst parts of the job, each reported by 16 percent of the respondents, followed by problems with upper management and co-workers.
Psychologically Toxic Workplaces
According to a survey by Pendaflex, a leading manufacturer of organizational solutions, 72 million Americans face health risks at work from long hours and a result-driven working culture. As workers strive for bonuses and high performance reviews, stress levels within offices escalate.
The report calls workplaces “psychologically toxic,” causing stress, anxiety and depression, and says 48 percent of American workers experience harmful stress levels. This can lead to ulcers, high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes.
While workers under 35 report being under the most stress, research indicates women are often more affected by stress than males. Forty-nine percent of workers stay late two to three times a week, feeling stressed, moody and irritable.
Psychologist Dr. David Lewis of Pendaflex identified five factors that affect stress levels and result in a “psychologically toxic” work environment:
Heavy workload – Affects more than 52 percent of American workers.
Unreasonable boss – 37 percent of the U.S. working population claim they are expected to work when ill.
Disorganization – 43 percent neglect filing and task prioritization, feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope.
Unrealistic targets – 32 percent have unattainable sales goals and overly ambitious productivity aims.
Short deadlines – 31 percent of workers in the U.S. are allowed too little time or notice to complete a task.
With coping strategies, Pendaflex said even the heaviest workloads can be managed with excellent results. Workers can control and manage disorganization with prioritization, and time management can improve relationships with supervisors.
The Lawsuit Industry’s Effect on Healthcare
Manhattan Institute’s Center for Legal Policy released a new report looking at the impact of Trial Lawyers, Inc. on U.S. healthcare. The healthcare industry represents 15 percent of the total U.S. economy. While trial lawyers claim to protect patients, the report shows the reality is quite different:
Skyrocketing insurance premiums – In 2003, medical malpractice premiums increased by 18 percent. In Cook County, Ill., premiums for obstetricians went up 67 percent between 2003 and 2004.
Doctor shortages – In Palm Beach, Fla., five of 13 hospitals have no neurologist on staff in the emergency room. In New York, seven counties have no OB/GYNs.
Doctors practice “defensive medicine,” abandoning risky treatments and refusing to prescribe drugs involved in any litigation – Nearly 80 percent of doctors admit they order unnecessary tests and 74 percent make unnecessary referrals to specialists, while 43 percent of doctors say they avoid prescribing certain drugs for fear of being sued.
Hospital closures – In Philadelphia and its suburbs, eight maternity units have closed their doors in the past three years. In 2003, Florida Hospital in Orlando abandoned plans to build a facility because it couldn’t find the doctors to staff it.
Limited access to life-saving vaccines and innovative drugs – Litigation has driven useful medications from the market, led to a cessation of contraceptive research and compromised U.S. vaccine supplies. Drug companies like Wyeth and Merck face liability exposure 10 times their annual research-and-development budgets, leaving little incentive to develop new drugs.
Marsh Report Assesses Impact of Gulf Hurricanes
A new report from Marsh Inc., a risk and insurance services firm, provides an assessment of damages resulting from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, describing their consequences and implications for businesses and government entities.
Workers’ compensation may prove problematic, particularly for businesses with employees involved in recovery efforts, which increases the potential for both injuries and illnesses. Some businesses provided employees displaced by storms with benefits such as food and shelter, and may find themselves paying workers compensation premiums for the value of those benefits.
Other findings included:
The Gulf Coast region is not a major contributor to national growth beyond the oil and gas industries. While the economy is expected to slow in 2006, the factors driving the slowdown predate Katrina and Rita.
The impact on the insurance industry will be unevenly distributed, rippling through coverage lines and causing the softening insurance market to make an about-face.
Both hurricanes revealed vulnerabilities and failures in the catastrophe models that insurers and reinsurers use to analyze their exposures to loss. Insurers are now trying to price risks with what have proven to be questionable models, and buyers are uncertain about what to expect for pricing and capacity from the insurance market.
Coverage lines are less likely to be affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in terms of losses and impact on pricing. There are indications that reinsurers may increase prices across the board, pushing rates up for coverage lines that saw few or no claims arising out of the hurricanes.
According to the report, businesses can take steps to be less vulnerable to future storms and other catastrophes by creating a loss-management plan, performing a natural-hazards risk assessment and establishing plans for emergency response and business continuity.