About The Study

The Emerging Workforce® Study takes an in-depth look at the American workforce and the issues that drive performance. It tracks shifting worker attitudes, behavior and motivation, in conjunction with the evolving practices of employers. This groundbreaking research helps employers make more informed decisions to positively drive employee engagement, productivity and retention.

History of the Study

In 1997, Spherion® launched the Emerging Workforce Study, a research initiative designed to provide a comprehensive portrait of the American workforce and how it was changing, within the context of ongoing social and economic events. Over the course of nearly two decades,  Spherion has continued to track and study changing attitudes in the American workforce and the resulting implications for U.S. employers through subsequent studies conducted in 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. 


The 2016 Emerging Workforce Study was conducted online within the United States by Research Now—on behalf of Spherion—during February and March 2016, among 416 human resource managers. Results were weighted as needed to reflect the composition of U.S. companies, based on company revenue. An online survey of 2,810 employed adults, ages 18 and older, was also conducted by Research Now—on behalf of Spherion—during the same time period. Results were weighted as needed for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income to represent the target population. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. (A full methodology is available by request.)