It's not all coming up roses

Consider this: One in five of your employees likely feels unsafe or harassed at work. It doesn't sit well, does it? But that is the finding of a long-ranging study conducted by research firm Rand Corp., Santa Monica, Calif.; Harvard Medical School, Boston; and the University of California, Los Angeles.

The study asked 30,666 U.S. workers aged 25 to 71 to comment on the general safety and demeanor of their workplaces. Following are some of the findings:

  • One in five workers say they work in a hostile or threatening environment, which can include bullying and/or sexual harassment. The study notes employees who interface with customers feel threatened far more often than employees who don't interact with customers.
  • Nearly 55 percent of workers surveyed believe they work in "unpleasant and potentially hazardous" conditions.
  • A relatively small number—38 percent—say their jobs offer them advancement opportunities.
  • Less-educated workers generally face harsher working conditions.

Nicole Maestas, a Harvard Medical School economist, told the Associated Press she believes these conditions (which, admittedly, employers may not know exist) could be contributing to the lack of capable workers in many industries.

In July, 62.9 percent of working-age adults who were employed also were looking for work. Yet the national unemployment rate sits at a 16-year low while employers clamor for new hires.