K-12 Employee Job Satisfaction Plummets as Stress and Worries Increase Regarding COVID-19 Safety and Personal Finances

A nationwide poll of K-12 employees finds this segment of the state and local workforce has heightened concerns stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Of those surveyed, the vast majority reported feeling stressed (63%), high levels of burnout/fatigue (54%), and substantial anxiety (47%) at work due to the pandemic. These worries come as K-12 employees were significantly more likely than other government employees to perceive themselves to be at risk of exposure to COVID-19 at work (60% vs. 38%).

K-12 employees’ general satisfaction with their employers plummeted from 69% in March 2020, to 44% in October 2020. Additionally, more public education professionals could leave their jobs at a time when many state and local governments are struggling to recruit and retain teachers. More than one-third (38%) of K-12 employees say that working during the pandemic has made them consider changing jobs, as compared to 25% of other government employees.

These findings are contained in a new report, K-12 Public School Employee Views on Finances, Employment Outlook, and Safety Concerns Due to COVID-19. In addition to describing the results of the survey, the report offers recommendations for states and localities to think strategically to address these challenges. To help alleviate the safety, health, job, and financial concerns of K-12 employees, the report highlights four areas of focus for state and local governments: financial wellness, employee morale, remote work and nontraditional benefits.

Click here to view the recorded webinar.

Workforce Survey

Since 2009, the Center has partnered with the International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR) and the National Association of State Personnel Executives (NASPE) to conduct a survey of agency human resource directors about the challenges being faced and the initiatives being implemented to recruit and retain talented staff. This year’s survey is out now, with a report due later this spring. If you did not receive a copy of the survey, but would still like to provide input, please contact us at [email protected].

SLGE in the News

The Sacramento Bee, Route Fifty, Governing, and the Cortland Standard (New York) included coverage of the COVID-19 survey, while the Workforce Institute at UKG published a blog post on the survey findings. SLGE data on COVID-19 financial impacts was also discussed as part of the Real Time with IPELRA podcast (Feb. 8 episode).

USA Today and CNBC cited data from SLGE and the Public Plans Database as part of their discussion of the impact of the GameStop frenzy on pension funds.

KNEB Radio ran a story on the Nebraska State Treasurer’s new financial wellness program – which is funded in part through a grant coordinated by SLGE and the Wells Fargo Foundation.

StateTech covered the Center’s workforce trends to watch for 2021, and the Georgia Municipal Association cited data from the Center’s 2020 workforce survey on hard-to-fill positions.