AUBURN – A statewide survey of Alabama residents found that men and women agree that better benefits packages and higher wages should top the list of changes or improvements sought in the workplace.
When it comes to other employment priorities, however, gender differences are evident. Most notably, a majority of women care a lot about flexible work hours and schedules and also about the availability of onsite or convenient childcare.
Sixty-seven percent of women describe childcare as “very important,” compared to 55 percent of men. Sixty-one percent of women rate flexible hours and schedules as very important while just 49 percent of men concur.
The preferences of Alabama women could play a major role in the restructuring of the workplace, says Auburn University pollster David Hill.
“Labor economists tell us that during recessions the percentage of female workers rises, so their voices may become more influential,” said Hill. “Earlier this year, economists reported that nationwide more women than men are now the primary breadwinners in their households.”
The survey also found that transportation is a significant consideration in employment. A majority of the Alabama residents surveyed described shorter commutes and also the availability of public transit options as being “very important” improvements that are needed.
“Whenever gasoline prices spike, we will see rising sensitivity from workers with long commutes,” said Don-Terry Veal, director of Auburn University’s Center for Governmental Services.
A majority of Alabama residents also said there is a need for more employers who value diversity.
The Ask Alabama survey results are based on telephone interviews conducted July 6-19 with a stratified random sample of 639 adult householders. The sample’s geographic, gender, race and age distributions were weighted to be proportionate to the U.S. Census Bureau’s data for Alabama’s adult (18 years of age or older) householders.
Patrick Rose, manager of the center’s Survey Research Laboratory that conducted the interviews, said that poll results based on the full statewide sample have a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
The Ask Alabama Poll is conducted quarterly by the Center for Governmental Services, a unit of Auburn University Outreach that provides research, consulting and training to government agencies, not-for-profit associations and private sector clients.
The next poll results released by Ask Alabama will be on the subject of state image. It will be based on a survey of how Alabamians see their state as a venue for a variety of different activities such as retirement, raising a family, starting a business and looking for a job.
For more information on the Center for Governmental Services and for additional information about the polling process, including graphic representations, go to http://www.askalabama.org.