September 03, 2010 08:00 ET

Labor Day Survey Reveals More Than Half of Employees Receive No Recognition at Work; More Associate Federal Holiday With End of Summer Than Celebration of Workers

While Two in Three Employees Plan to Take Monday's Holiday Off, More Than Half of Unemployed Job Seekers Will Be Job Hunting

SAUSALITO, CA--(Marketwire - September 3, 2010) -  According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Labor Day became an official holiday in 1894 and was designed to celebrate the social and economic achievement of workers, but it appears it has lost meaning to many employees and employers. More adults associate the holiday with the end of summer (59 percent) and a long weekend (47 percent) than the celebration of U.S. workers (41 percent), and for nearly one in 10 (8 percent), the holiday means nothing at all, according to an August online survey1 by® of 2047 U.S. adults conducted on its behalf by Harris Interactive®.

Could the lack of Labor Day association be the result of how employees are treated at work? The majority of employees2 (52 percent) say their employer has done nothing to reward their achievements in the past year and nearly three in five (59 percent) report they are making the same or less than they were two years ago. Nearly all employees who have been employed over the past year (95 percent) said they had work achievements during this time, yet only 41 percent said their employers celebrated at least some achievements, broken down as follows:

  • 16% got praise privately
  • 13% got extra time off
  • 12% got a raise
  • 12% got verbal praise in front of other employees
  • 11% got some type of gift (coupons, gift card, etc)
  • 9% got a cash bonus
  • 6% got an award
  • 5% got a promotion

"While employers have been focused on cost cutting and rightsizing during the downturn, employees are often left feeling stressed, overworked and underpaid, and a little recognition can really go a long way," said Robert Hohman, co-founder and CEO of "Even if promotions or raises aren't possible, something as small as a 'great job' from a boss in front of the employee's peers or an extra day off will help employees feel more appreciated and satisfied with their current employment situation."

Nearly 60% of Employees Making the Same or Less than Two Years Ago
Nearly one-third (32 percent) of employees are making the same (i.e., base salary, bonus, overtime, 401(k) contribution match) as they did two years ago, more than one in four (27 percent) are making less and 37 percent are making more. Baby boomers have taken a bigger pay hit as more than one-third (35 percent) of employees aged 55+ say they are making less now than they did two years ago.

As Most Employees Take Holiday Off, More Than Half of Unemployed Job Seekers will be Job Hunting
Two in three employees (65 percent) do not plan to work Monday, September 6, although 16 percent say they will have to if something comes up. Almost one-fifth (18 percent) plan to work, including 15 percent who do not have the day off. For unemployed job seekers, Labor Day is just another day to look for work. The majority (53 percent) of those unemployed but looking plan to do something related to their job search on Labor Day:

  • 50% plan to search for a job
  • 15% plan to update their resume
  • 11% plan to go on a job interview

For Most, Labor Day Means End of Summer and a Long Weekend
Labor Day more likely signifies a long weekend and a day off or spending time with family and friends (43 percent), instead of the opportunity for employers to celebrate their employees. And more than one-quarter of men (27 percent) of men say Labor Day means the start of football season vs. just 12 percent of women.

  • 59% say it means the end of summer
  • 47% say it means having a day off/long weekend
  • 43% say it means spending time with family and friends
  • 41% say it means a celebration of U.S. workers
  • 29% say it means back to school season
  • 19% say it means the start of football season
  • 10% say it means a celebration of unions
  • 8% say it means nothing

For more information on Glassdoor or this survey, visit

1) Harris Interactive® fielded the study online on behalf of Glassdoor between August 24-26 among 2,047 adults ages 18 and older of whom 1,105 were employed full time/part-time and/or self employed and 165 were unemployed but looking. Data were weighted using propensity score weighting to be representative of the total U.S. adult population on the basis of region, age within gender, education, household income, race/ethnicity, and propensity to be online. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact

2) For the purposes of this study "employees" were defined as U.S, adults 18+ employed full time and part time and self employed unless otherwise indicated.

About is a career and workplace community giving a free inside look at jobs and companies. Glassdoor enables employees, job seekers, employers and recruiters to simultaneously see -- for the first time -- unedited opinions about a company's work environment along with details on salary, company reviews, as well as benefits and CEO approval ratings. Glassdoor, founded in 2007 with a public beta version launched in June 2008, has since offered job interview questions and reviews, office photos as well as career advice. Headquartered in Sausalito, Calif., Glassdoor was founded by Richard Barton, Robert Hohman and Tim Besse and has raised $9.5 million from its founders, Benchmark Capital and Sutter Hill Ventures.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us -- and our clients -- stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit