EY research reveals less than half of full-time workers surveyed trust their employer, boss and colleagues

London, 30 June 2016

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  • Survey also finds Gen Z values equal opportunity for pay and promotion and opportunities to learn and advance as leading factors in trusting a future employer

EY Global generations 3.0 research has found less than half of full-time workers place a “great deal of trust” in their employer (46%), boss (49%) and colleagues (49%). The research also included a specific focus on Generation Z, aged 16-18, and found that the top factors respondents say will be “very important” in trusting an employer are if they provide “equal opportunity for pay and promotion” and “opportunities to learn and advance in my career.”

The online survey of more than 9,800 full-time workers, aged 19-68, at companies of varying sizes in eight countries, explored a wide variety of areas including: trust in employers, bosses and teams as well as factors behind trust, and lack of trust, in the workplace, found that the most important factor in determining trust in an employer is one that “delivers on promises.”

Among respondents that place “very little” to “no trust” in their current employer, the top factors that contribute to this lack of trust are tied to compensation, including “equal opportunity for pay and promotion” (48%); along with “lack of strong leadership” (46%); “too much employee turnover” (43%) and “not fostering a collaborative work environment” (43%). Full-time workers with a low level of trust in their company said it would influence them to look for another job (42%); work only the minimum number of hours required (30%); be less engaged/productive (28%).

Respondents in India, Mexico and Brazil are among the most likely to place “a great deal of trust” in their current employer (66%, 65% and 59%, respectively), and those in Japan, the UK and the US are the least likely to do so (21%, 33% and 38%, respectively). The research also looked at the factors that influence trust by generations and found that globally, baby boomers (aged 51-68) are the most trusting of their employer (51%), while Generation X (aged 35-50) was least likely to place a “great deal of trust” in their employer (41%).

The survey also revealed that globally 36% of respondents don’t expect to get a raise or bonus this year, with respondents in Germany, Japan, the UK and the US most likely to state this (54%, 51%, 44% and 38%, respectively). In most countries a higher percentage of women don’t expect to get a raise/bonus in 2016 than men.

For Generation Z, 3,207 teens aged 16-18 were surveyed about what trust factors were important for them in determining who they will trust the most when making decisions about their first full-time employer; and what impact their parents’ or guardians’ work experience has had on their decisions. The survey found two-thirds (66%) of respondents cited pay and promotion equity and opportunities to learn and advance as “very important” for trust in a current or future employer.

Karyn Twaronite, EY Global Diversity & Inclusiveness Officer, says:
"The purpose of Global generations 3.0 is to present a global snapshot of the state of trust in the workplace today, as well as gain meaningful insight into what people around the world consider most important. Giving individuals a forum to voice their opinions on what factors truly influence their level of trust in an employer, boss or team, can help organizations continue to build a culture that is more inclusive of all views and differences, as well as pave the way to be more progressive as modern trustworthy organizations, well into the future.”

Nancy Altobello, EY Global Vice Chair – Talent, says: “The findings underscore the importance of cultivating a workplace culture that values open communication, inclusive leadership and collaboration – the true building blocks of trust. Senior executives who understand the factors that impact trust within their organizations will be able to drive employee engagement and retention. We find that engaged employees make for the highest performing teams, which are then able to deliver exceptional client service and innovative solutions.”

Twaronite adds: “Our global research sheds some light on the determinants of trust across generations, including Gen Z. We found that parents of Gen Z often both positively and negatively impact the level of trust this next wave of talent are looking for in their future employers. The impact of their influence could be far-reaching, so by understanding these factors, and proactively taking action on them, employers, bosses and teams can help to build trust for the workforce of today as well as tomorrow.”

Some additional survey findings include:

  • Gen X is the least likely to trust among the generations. Globally, a higher percentage of full-time working baby boomers place a “great deal of trust” in their employer (51%), boss (52%) and team/colleagues (53%) than other generations.
  • The top leading aspects that are “very important” to a majority of global respondents ages 19-68 in determining the level of trust to place in their employer are: “delivers on promises” (67%); “provides job security” (64%); and “provides fair compensation and good benefits” (63%).
  • Fifteen percent of respondents globally had “very little” or “no trust” in their current employer. Among those who say they have “very little” or “no trust” in their current employer, the top factors that led them to say this were: “employee compensation is not fair” (53%); “does not provide employees with equal opportunity for pay and promotion” (48%); and “lack of strong leadership” (46%).
  • Only 32% of full-time workers surveyed globally say they have a “great deal of trust” that “there won’t be any negative consequences” to their career for taking time off for child or eldercare and 39% say this about paid parental leave.

The survey is EY’s third on workplace generational issues. In 2013, EY explored the interplay between generations in the workforce and how companies could maximize performance by actively managing the generational mix. In 2015, EY delved into work-life issues, particularly for millennials, to inform companies on the external factors that influence the decisions, ambitions and priorities of full-time workers globally.

To access more in-depth geography, gender or generations findings view the executive summary here. To learn more about EY’s previous global generation reports, visit ey.com.



Notes to Editors

About EY
EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

EY refers to the global organization, and may refer to one or more, of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit ey.com.

This news release has been issued by EYGM Limited, a member of the global EY organization that also does not provide any services to clients.

About the survey
The Global generations 3.0 survey and the sub-survey of Generation Z were conducted in the US, Germany, Japan, China, Mexico, Brazil, India and the UK. The main survey of respondents ages 19-68 includes analysis of key findings by geography, generation, gender and parent status. The survey of Gen Z includes analysis by gender and geography.

The Global Generations survey was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of EY between March 31 and May 3, 2016 among 9,859 adults in Brazil, China, Germany, India, Mexico, UK and US, aged 19-68 who are employed full time. Roughly 1,200 each were surveyed in Brazil (n=1,239), China (n=1,228), Germany (n=1,226), India (n=1,234), Japan (n=1,237), Mexico (n=1,233), the UK (n=1,229), and the US (n=1,233). Quotas were set for even distribution by gender, age groups and parent status.

The Global Generation Z study was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of EY between March 31 and April 25, 2016 among 3,207 teenagers aged 16-18, with roughly 400 each in eight countries, including the US (400), Mexico (401), Brazil (400), the UK (400), Germany (401), Japan (400), China (402) and India (403). Quotas were set for even distribution by gender.

For both surveys, the data were not weighted and are therefore representative only of the individuals interviewed. A post weight was applied in the Global Generations survey to give each country equal weight when showing results in an eight-country “global” total. All analyses were performed by FleishmanHillard. All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error, which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, the words “margin of error” are avoided as they are misleading. Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.