Many American workers feel undervalued and believe their employer sees them as “disposable,” according to a new survey by DeVry University.

Nearly a quarter (24 percent) of employees surveyed said they believe American workers are not valued. Worse, 36 percent of respondents reported that their employer’s actions since the pandemic started have made them feel disposable.

The survey found that this feeling of disposability varies by generation: 47 percent of Gen Z and 42 percent of millennial respondents believe their employer sees them as disposable compared to only 28 percent of Gen X and 32 percent of baby boomers.

Other survey findings:

  • Respondents believe tenure and education don’t really matter anymore. Asked what employers value most, they cited hard work (65 percent), meeting goals and deadlines (49 percent), and positive mindset (43 percent) as more important than industry experience (22 percent), education level (16 percent) or years with the company (14 percent).
  • Employees seem to value their paycheck over benefits. The vast majority of respondents (69 percent) said a pay increase is the best way for an employer to demonstrate appreciation for their workers’ value. Recognition (34 percent) and work schedule flexibility (30 percent) were also deemed important; however, the employees surveyed were far less likely to feel appreciated by more pandemic safety measures (17 percent) or a better health insurance plan (17 percent).

This Caravan survey was conducted at the end of August by Engine Insights among a sample of 965 adults 18 years of age and older who are employed full or part time.