rates (and thus of the probability of finding alternative employment) during this period.

Another source of data on values comes from the WorkTrend™ survey (see Table 2.3), in which respondents generally reported that work provides a feeling of accomplishment (on average, 78 percent agreed or strongly agreed with this item), with only minor fluctuations between 1985 and 1996. Similarly, respondents answered positively to the intrinsic item, "My job makes good use of my skills and abilities" (on average, 71 percent agreed or strongly agreed with the item). For this item, however, there was a noticeable positive trend from 1985 to 1996 for most occupational groupings, particularly operatives, laborers, and technicians. In contrast, substantial negative trends between 1985 and 1996 were evident for the extrinsic work aspects of pay, benefits, and job security for all occupational groupings. On average, 54 percent of respondents rated their pay as good or very good in 1985 and 49 percent by 1996. Likewise, 72 percent rated their benefits as good or very good in 1985, dropping to 64 percent by 1996. Furthermore, respondents were substantially more positive about their jobs in 1985 (70 percent answered good or very good) than in 1996 (47 percent answered good or very good).

Although not directly comparable to the General Social Survey results due to differences in questions and response formats, there is nevertheless consistency in the findings from these two nationally representative surveys. Americans tend to evaluate intrinsic aspects of work more positively than extrinsic aspects. Furthermore, trends evident in the WorkTrends™ data on skills, pay, benefits, and job security help shed light on the General Social Survey results.

Work Shifts and the Timing of Work

Work shifts and work time, perhaps more than any other dimension of work, are likely to be driven by demographic change. For example, the increased entry into the labor force of women with small children might be expected to increase the relative incidence of part-time work and of evening and night shifts, as parents juggle jobs and schedules. Popular accounts suggest that



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement