Connecting state and local government leaders
Morale is improving, but concerns about pay and working conditions are on the rise, too, a survey shows.
As state and local government employees head back to the office at the behest of their employers, many say the Covid-19 pandemic experience has led them to seek higher salaries, bigger bonuses and more flexibility to work from home.
“Positive morale regarding work among state and local government workers has increased over the past six months,” according to a new report issued by MissionSquare Research Institute. The study is based on a national survey conducted by Greenwald Research in May of 1,203 full-time state and local government employees. “While 41% of respondents reported very or somewhat positive morale in October 2020, this number climbed to 56% in May 2021.”
Concerns about pay and benefits cuts, reduced hours or job losses all declined from surveys conducted in May and October 2020.
But while 60% of respondents to the most recent survey said they were satisfied with their job security, and 60% or more liked their employer’s leave policies and health insurance benefits, only 32% were satisfied with their salary. Asked what realistic actions state and local government organizations could take to make things better, 21% said hand out bonuses or pay raises.
“The pay in public education is insultingly low,” one educator told researchers.”If you break it down, I make $12 an hour. I appreciate working in a climate-controlled office and getting holidays off, but I’ll never be able to take a vacation or retire on what I make.”
In addition to compensation changes, 20% of respondents listed allowing remote work and flexible hours among the changes that would make state and local government work more appealing. More than three-quarters of respondents said they didn’t work at home at all before the pandemic struck, and more than two-thirds said that in the last six months, their employers didn’t give them any choice about returning to the office.
Nearly 50% of those surveyed said working in the public sector during the pandemic was a source of pride, and almost as many reported that the situation had made the public aware of the importance of the work they do.
For more details about the report click here.