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Half of all workers say their companies are understaffed as labor shortage takes a toll on those still employed: CNBC|Momentive Workforce Survey

October 2021 survey finds that employees who describe their offices as understaffed are less satisfied with their jobs and nearly twice as likely as those with adequate staffing to say they've considered quitting their jobs in the last three months (43% vs. 23%)

CNBC and Momentive's Workforce Happiness Index remains unchanged from April 2021 and November 2020 at a score of 72 out of 100

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. and SAN MATEO, CA, November 5, 2021 — CNBC, First in Business Worldwide, and Momentive (formerly SurveyMonkey), a leader in agile experience management, today announced the results of their latest Workforce Survey.

Half of all workers say their companies are currently understaffed. 43% of those who say their companies are understaffed have themselves considered quitting their job in the last three months. Overall, one third of workers have thought about quitting in the last three months.

The CNBC|Momentive survey, which polled over 11,000 workers in the U.S. from October 18-25, also uncovered some reasons to believe things are getting better for America's workforce; twice as many people now as a year ago (34% vs. 18%) say it has gotten easier to do their jobs in the past six months and 25% of workers say morale among their colleagues is excellent, up from 19% in Q4 2020.

Even though morale has improved since last year, the core employee happiness measures remain stable. CNBC and Momentive's Workforce Happiness Index, which measures worker satisfaction across five key metrics, held steady from April 2021 and November 2020 at 72 out of 100. Those working in a "hybrid" situation, mixing work from home with work from their usual workplace, are slightly happier than those working fully from home or fully out of home. (Hybrid workers have a happiness index of 74, vs. 73 for fully remote, and 72 for fully out of home).

For this iteration of the survey, CNBC and Momentive also polled more than 4,000 people who are not currently employed. Of the group not currently employed, about one in five say they are seeking employment and 22% overall say they have worked for pay in the last year. Among those looking for work, when asked what would bring them back into the workforce, 58% say they need to be able to work from home in order to accept a new job, while 51% said a higher salary could convince them to return.

Additional key findings from the October 2021 CNBC|Momentive Workforce Survey include:

Understaffing could lead to a downward spiral of low morale and increased attrition:

  • Nearly half (45%) of understaffed workers describe morale at their company as poor or fair, compared to 22% of those who feel their workplaces are adequately staffed.
  • Lower-wage workers are most likely to consider quitting:
  • 37% of those making under $50,000 have considered quitting in the last three months, compared to 25% of those making $150,000+.
  • Parents of children under 18 (34%) are no more or less likely than others to say they've recently considered quitting:
  • But mothers with children under 18 are more likely than fathers with children under 18 to say they've considered quitting (37% vs. 32%).

Return to the office continues:

  • Just 16% of workers say they are now working fully from home, down from 21% in April 2021 and from 22% in November 2020.
  • Only 9% of workers expect to be working fully from home six months from now.
  • Fathers are more likely than mothers to expect to work from the office full time in six months (67% vs. 58%).

Most workers say their employers do not require vaccinations, but a majority support President Biden's employer vaccine mandate:

  • A majority of the workforce (54%) supports President Biden's mandate that companies with more than 100 employees have all their workers vaccinated. against COVID-19.
  • 52% of those who are currently working fully in-person support the mandate, as do 58% of hybrid workers and 65% of remote workers.
  • 37% of workers say their company requires in-person workers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

"It's good news that employee morale is holding steady," says Momentive Chief Research Officer Jon Cohen. "But in the ultra-competitive talent market fueled by The Great Resignation, employers need to up their efforts to understand worker morale and take action to improve it. Hybrid work environments, fully staffed teams, and vaccine mandates all can make a difference as a new normal comes into view."

To download the CNBC|Momentive Workforce Survey template to help measure employee job satisfaction at your organization, go to:   

CNBC Senior Personal Finance Correspondent Sharon Epperson will reveal the results of the CNBC|Momentive Workforce Survey on Friday, November 5th throughout CNBC's Business Day programming. For more information on the survey including the full results and methodology and in-depth articles, go to:


This Momentive online poll was conducted October 18-25, 2021 among a national sample of 11,227 workers in the United States. Respondents for this survey were selected from the more than 2 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. The modeled error estimate for this survey is plus or minus 1.5 percentage points. Data have been weighted initially for age, race, sex, education, and geography using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States age 18 and over, then weighted for age, race, sex, education, employment status, and geography using Census Bureau's Current Population Survey to reflect the demographic composition of United States employed population.

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Jennifer Dauble



Stephanie Hirlemann



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About Momentive:

Momentive (formerly SurveyMonkey) is a leader in agile experience management, delivering powerful, purpose-built solutions that bring together the best parts of humanity and technology to redefine AI. Momentive products, including GetFeedback, SurveyMonkey, and Momentive brand and market insights solutions, empower ​decision-makers at 345,000 organizations worldwide to shape exceptional experiences. More than 20 million active users rely on Momentive to fuel market insights, brand insights, employee experience, customer experience, and product experience. Ultimately, the company's vision is to raise the bar for human experiences by amplifying individual voices. Learn more at