Guild’s American Workforce Survey

Making Change:
How America’s Workforce is Responding to Rising Costs

America’s workforce is reacting to economic uncertainty by changing behavior and reevaluating priorities: The average American is thinking differently about what they value in a job, anchoring on economic stability, and looking for long-term opportunities for growth — with less concern about wages or layoffs than niche tech industry employees.

These are some of the key findings in Guild’s latest American Workforce Survey, a regular check of the issues, motivations, and opinions of American workers conducted by Guild.

Taken together, the results show an American workforce focused on the long-term. Workers are managing to costs, but more than that, they’re making down payments on their future. This is a workforce motivated more than ever by a path to career growth and economic stability.

What the Workforce Wants

The US economy appears to be driving shifts in what workers value. Specifically, they’re looking for employers that provide stability and growth:

“I made a career change because [the economy] was stressing me out."

- Arianna, professional services industry employee

Americans are job-hunting for better pay and pathways

With almost three out of four working Americans concerned about rising costs, they are changing overall behaviors and priorities:

are taking a proactive step to deal with rising costs. Among them:

· Looking for a new job
· Moving to an area with more growth
· Considering education and training programs to improve job qualifications

22% have focused more on proving they’re a valuable contributor at their job

Job opportunities, not fears, driving sentiment

Less than one-quarter of the American workforce surveyed are pursuing new opportunities for fear of losing their job:

said they were “very concerned” about layoffs and furloughs

Nearly as many workers said they’d had overtime or additional hours as had seen reductions in their hours: 

16% have had to put in mandatory overtime vs. 18% who have had their hours reduced

“I'm looking at going back to school to look for a new skill perhaps. Or look into other ways of making a good job.”

- Deb, healthcare industry employee



News of tech layoffs have dominated headlines — and fears of job cuts are far more common in the industry than other fields. More than half of tech workers were at least somewhat concerned about layoffs. In some industries, such as healthcare, being overworked was a more common concern.


of tech workers were at least “somewhat concerned” about layoffs or furloughs vs. 39% of non-tech workers


of tech workers know someone who has been laid off vs. 34% of non-tech workers

“I am concerned about an economic slowdown resulting in mass layoffs around multiple sectors. In my own life I have adopted a better strategy to remain healthy and maximize my income by creating a side business/side hustle.”

- Caulden, technology industry employee



As an industry, healthcare workers see growth, stability, and the opportunity to pursue education and training as among their top priorities:

of healthcare workers said being in a growing industry was very or somewhat important to them

“[I’m concerned about] the rising cost of everything from gas to groceries to housing. It’s hard to have the bare necessities even though I work full time. [I’m] working longer hours and spending less on groceries.”

- Cheyenne, healthcare industry employee


of healthcare workers said long term stability was very or somewhat important to them


of healthcare workers said it was very or somewhat important to them that their job provides education and training


were very concerned about being forced to work overtime due to staffing shortages


were “very concerned” about being laid off or furloughed



Retail workers are focused on growth and stability, and a majority find it important to have access to education and training.


said working in a growing industry was very or somewhat important to them


said long term stability was somewhat or very important


said it was very or somewhat important that their employers provided education and training


The findings of the American Workforce Pulse survey tell a clear story of a workforce in motion, reacting to larger economic change. It is a workforce worried about costs and yet focused on taking actions to drive their own longer-term vision for growth and stability.

Alfonso, who works in financial services, embodies this dual track.

Alfonso is very concerned about the overall economy. At the same time, he has committed to making changes and shifted his priorities. Recently, he moved jobs in response to rising costs. His new role, says, offers him a “better trajectory and more options.”

“This opened up a huge window of opportunity for me,” he says.

Read Guild’s previous American Workforce Survey, “The New Up Or Out.”


The American Workforce Survey is a quarterly online survey of workers between ages 18-60 across the United States conducted by Guild Research. This quarter’s results include responses from 2,078 workers, weighted to represent the general population of workers based on age, gender identity, industry, and household income.