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Experiences with Work 2016

This national study of adults ages 35-64 was conducted to learn more about individuals’ experiences with work. Results from this study find that nearly four in ten (39%) may try to find a new job in 2016, with those who are likely to seek a new job citing more money as the leading reason for looking (74%).  The desire for more enjoyable work (30%), better health benefits (28%), and more job flexibility (25%) are also mentioned as reasons for starting a job search.

Learn:  More about AARP Research

Key findings include:

  • Among respondents ages 35-64, nearly three in ten are retired, not working (14%) or report their employment status as “other” (such as homemakers) (14%), suggesting that members of both groups are out of the paid labor force.

  • Of the remaining work-inspired population, more than six in ten (62%) are working now, one in seven (15%) are hoping to get a job soon, and four in ten (39%) anticipate looking for a job in 2016.

  • Among those respondents who are currently working, two-thirds (66%) have been in their job for five or more years and report being moderately satisfied, but only about half (49%) believe they have an opportunity to advance.

Notably, those respondents who are likely to look for a new job in 2016 are less satisfied than those who intend to stay put in their current job with their opportunities to grow in their career (33% vs. 51%), their work/life balance (52% vs. 72%), their relationship with their boss (54% vs. 72%), and the degree of challenge they have in their work (48% vs. 66%).  They also feel less valued at work, in terms of their opinions being valued (62% vs. 80%) and their being listened to by others (63% vs. 79%).

This 10-minute, online, unbranded survey was conducted by Phi Power Communications, Inc. on behalf of AARP.  The survey was fielded from November 8 to November 14, 2015 among U.S adults ages 35-64.  The final nationally-representative sample of 1,291 was quota-matched to 2014 U.S. Census figures on age, gender, education (as a proxy for income), and region.  For more information contact Teresa A. Keenan at


Suggested Citation:

Keenan, Teresa A. Experiences with Work. Washington, DC: AARP Research, January 2016.

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