Majority Of U.S. Companies Asking Employees To Work Longer Hours

more overtime Great RecessionSomething's got to give.

The country's cities are being occupied by citizens clamoring for a reassessment of our capitalist system. Of course, there's the motivator of 9.1 percent unemployment. But while the plight of the employed might pale in comparison to those still out of work, times are also tougher for those fortunate enough to be on the payroll.

Indeed, a new survey released by Towers Watson found that two thirds of Canadian and U.S. companies are asking their employees to work longer hours.

The survey was conducted by questionnaires sent to 316 firms. And about half said that they expect the trend to continue for the next three years.

The leaders of the survey didn't take the results as just another testament to the Protestant work ethic.

"In the short run, having employees work extra hours can increase productivity, but in the long run, extended hours can negatively affect employee well-being and retention," Laurie Bienstock, North America leader of rewards consulting at Towers Watson, told the Benefits Canada news outlet. "Employees at many organizations are already suffering from change fatigue. As a result, when the labor market does recover, companies can expect a sharp increase in voluntary turnover, especially if they do not address employee concerns, and deliver reward and talent management programs more effectively."

The survey's findings also revealed another developing narrative about the American workforce. As MarketWatch reports, the survey showed that for the second consecutive year, the North American companies are having trouble finding and retaining skilled workers. Nearly six out of 10 U.S. companies (59 percent) reported problems attracting critical-skill employees this year. That is an increase from 52 percent last year and 28 percent in 2009, according to Marketwatch.

"Companies are taking longer to fill these positions, and more of them are open. There is clearly a greater-than-normal mismatch between the skills employers seek and those that are available in the marketplace. In short, despite the overall weakness in the job market, companies need a more appealing offering to attract critical-skill employees," said Laura Sejen, global head of rewards consulting at Towers Watson.

There's been no fiercer advocate for skilled workers than former "Cheers" star, John Ratzenberger. He sat down with AOL Jobs earlier this month to argue for increased training in professions like electricians and plumbers.

"The average age of the American factory worker is around 57 years old. A lot of people aren't aware of that," he said. "Many major corporations, especially in manufacturing, can't find enough workers. The companies can't say anything because it will affect their stock prices. There's a ton of work out there, it's just that there aren't enough skilled people to fill them. We need to inspire the next generation before we run out of people who can make a building and invent things. We've got maybe six to 10 years before the entire workforce is impacted."

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These are greedy companies, most of which are doing very well in this sluggish economy. They are in a win-win situation, instead of hiring people to reduce the work load and help get the economy going, they are reaping the benefits, for they know that today's workers are afraid of losing their job(s) so the workers will put in extra (often free) time while working harder and getting more stressed out. This is part of what the Wall Street protests are all about.

October 18 2011 at 12:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

So, What! As long as they are clocked in! Damned this class jealousy.

October 18 2011 at 11:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am working more because the government cut payments to long term nursing care facilities. Shame, without nurses there is no nursing care. Most of my co-workers are looking to work private care. Pretty soon payments will stop for that too.

October 17 2011 at 1:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Unfortunately, most companies discourage overtime these days because they can't afford to pay overtime.

October 17 2011 at 12:30 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to wsa999's comment

I can verify that. but worse is when they pile others duties ontop of the ones all ready assigned..

October 17 2011 at 1:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."

October 17 2011 at 12:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
In My Opinion Only

I spend $50 at the dollar tree store, which saves me up to $150-$200 and use the rest for gasoline, lesiures and out to dinner. Thank you, Dollar Tree Stores.

October 16 2011 at 9:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Hello, Karen

How can we take our combined knowledge,experience, and education to form our own banks, manufacturing plants, supporting businesses and schools. We are not a stupid people. We would start very small and cut out the wealthy players. Let them live in Dubai! We can do this!
We need to agree on a way to fund our pursuits, that is, have a product or material we can invest in, which will gain in value. It used to be real estate now it would have to be something like precious metals. Our pensions would be based on a precious metal as well. We need to govern by consensus not a majority. All need to be heard. It is time!

October 16 2011 at 9:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Hello, Karen's comment

The big part will be getting the wealthy and the government, often one and the same, to move to Dubai. I think the rest of it would come about with no effort.

October 17 2011 at 1:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

oh so that means people are gonna have to work 45 hours instead of 40, and still have weekends off? Let me call the WAAAMbulance. Try working 58-62 hours every week, weekends mandatory, and only getting one day off. Some people are just a-holes.

October 16 2011 at 4:34 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mikemaj82's comment

For a minute there, I thought you were talking about me! I worked for years on a 13 day on, 1 day off schedule, many of the days were 12 hours long! Why? Because I was salaried and couldn't refuse! In fact, I was told by my boss that if I didn't like it, I would be better off finding another job!

October 16 2011 at 8:33 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Pretty soon you will find US citizens illegally entering these other countries to seek work. Then they will be sending money home to help their families back in the US. 1. Yes, there will be the language barrier. True, but the same thing is happening here. 2. They will be forced to work for under minimum pay. True, but the same thing is happening here. 3. Undocumented workers will be forced to perform duties and tasks legal citizens are not required to do. True, but it's happening here. And if the illegal worker wants to earn money to send home to his/her family in the US, they will have to suffer through it just as the people who are working illegally in the US does. You guys help me out here a little. You can read between the lines. It's just that the shoe has always been on the other foot. Now, it's on our own foot. Can't you imagine boat loads of Americans trying to get to the other side of the ocean for a better life only to be stopped by their border patrols and all are sent back to US all for need of a paying job. Imagine trying to sneak into Mexico to try to get a factory job paying $4.00 and hour so you can send money back to your family so they can pay the rent and buy a little food. It's coming.

October 16 2011 at 4:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i hope they or protesting nafta thats where the jobs have gone

October 16 2011 at 3:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to wayne's comment

nah they are still sending them to India, China, Tiwan, and Korea, they feel the Mexicans want too much money after working in the U.S. and learning American ways.

October 17 2011 at 1:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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