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Most workers say their salaries are lagging behind inflation: CNBC|Momentive Workforce Survey

CNBC and Momentive's Workforce Happiness Index lowers to a score of 71 out of 100, one point less than the previous survey's index in November 2021 

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. and SAN MATEO, CA, May 27, 2022 — CNBC, First in Business Worldwide, and Momentive (maker of SurveyMonkey), a leader in agile experience management, today announced the results of their latest Workforce Survey. 

The CNBC|Momentive survey found inflation is negatively impacting the workforce, as two thirds of workers (66%) say inflation has outpaced any salary gains they've made in the last 12 months. The survey found that those with incomes between $50,000 and $150,000 are more likely to say they're being squeezed by inflation than those at the higher or lower ends of the income spectrum. And, as a result of higher inflation, 28% of workers now say they are "not well paid," an all-time high for the survey, and up 3 points from the November 2021 survey.  

The increase in those saying they are not well paid, plus a decrease in the number of people who are positive about the opportunities for career advancement provided to them by their companies, contributed to a slight decline in CNBC and Momentive's Workforce Happiness Index, which measures worker satisfaction across five key metrics. The index dipped one point from the previous survey to a score of 71 out of 100. That is tied for the index's all-time low.  

Looming inflation fears also have more people considering a change. More people now (39%) than in any previous iteration of the survey say they have seriously considered quitting their jobs in the past three months, up from 33% in November 2021. Younger and low-income households (earning less than $50,000) are more likely than older and high-income households to say they've thought of quitting, and 42% of working mothers with children under 18 say they've seriously considered quitting in the last three months versus 36% of working fathers.  

This survey, which polled over 9,000 workers in the U.S. from May 10-16, 2022, also uncovered workers' support for their employers' speaking out on social issues and support for labor unions, which after decades of decline, are becoming more popular. Thirty-two percent of workers say they support their companies speaking out on social issues regardless of whether they agree with them, and 21% of workers support their companies speaking out but only if they agree with the position. Also, just more than one in 10 workers in the U.S. is a member of a labor union, but a majority of workers (59%) would support an increase in unionization at their company. Almost half (46%) of workers say that labor unions are mostly "good" for working people, more than twice the number who say they are mostly "bad" (17%). 

Additional key findings from the May 2022 CNBC|Momentive Workforce Survey include:

Despite worries, morale has improved:  

  • 69% of workers say morale is "excellent" or "good" at their companies, up 5 points from November.  
  • 50% of those who have considered quitting their job in the last 3 months rate their company morale as "excellent" or "good." 

More workers support employers and business leaders speaking out on social issues:  

  • 66% of workers say their company's position on political issues is "about right," indicating that most people tend to work for companies that share their values. 
  • 23% of Democrats say their company's political positions are "too conservative." 
  • 26% of Republicans say their company's political positions are "too liberal."  
  • Women are more likely than men, younger workers are more likely than older workers, and Blacks, Asians, and Hispanics are more likely than whites to say they would approve of business leaders who speak up. 
  • If business leaders do choose to speak out, they risk driving away workers who disagree with them politically. 
  • Four in 10 workers (40%) say they would be very or somewhat likely to quit their job if their organization took a stand on a political issue that they do not agree with. 

Majority and mostly bipartisan support for labor unions: 

  • 59% of workers would support an increase of unionization at their company.  
  • Union support is more popular among Democrats     . 
  • 44% of Republicans, 64% of independents and 76% of Democrats support an increase in unionization at their companies. 
  • 24% of Republican workers and 27% of Democrat workers are union members or have union members in their household. 
  • Workers are split on the balance of power between labor and management: 
  • 36% say unions have not enough power and influence. 
  • 29% say unions have too much power and influence. 

Return-to-office continues, but some remote workers are staying home:  

  • The majority of workers have now returned to the office full-time, with 65% saying they are now working fully in-person from their office or workplace, 14% working mostly in-person, 9% working mostly remote, and 11% working fully remote. 
  • 52% of workers continue to say they expect in-person workers to have better career opportunities available to them than remote workers. 
  • 30% expect remote and in-person workers to have equal opportunities to advance. 
  • Just 15% expect remote workers to have better opportunities. 

"Most American workers see inflation wiping away salary gains, and the number seeking greener pastures is higher than ever," says Jon Cohen, Chief Research Officer at Momentive. "But employers need to look past the pay squeeze, and at workers' other priorities, including what's still No. 1: having a job they find meaningful."

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

CNBC Small Business Reporter Kate Rogers will reveal the results of the CNBC|Momentive Workforce Survey on Friday, May 27th 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 May 10-16, 2022 among a national sample of 9,254 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 (NASDAQ: MNTV—maker of 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 SurveyMonkey and Momentive brand and market insights solutions, empower ​decision-makers at 345,000 organizations worldwide to shape exceptional experiences. Millions of 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