issue brief 22
issue brief 22
the difference a
downturn can make:
Assessing the Early Effects of the
Economic Crisis on the Employment
Experiences of Workers
Christina Matz-Costa, Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes, Ph.D., Elyssa Besen, and Kathy Lynch
The information contained in this report can help managers and supervisors to
consider how today’s economic downturn may be affecting the everyday lives of
employees at the workplace. With these insights, workplace leaders can take steps
to provide the supports necessary to help maintain employee productivity and well-
Our analyses revealed that, overall, after the onset of the economic downturn:
Employees perceived a decrease in their job security.
Employees reported a drop in supervisor support.
There was an increase in reported work overload.
Perceptions of inclusion decreased.
Perceptions job quality decreased.
And, when we examined whether these effects differed by age or changes in percep-
tions of job security, we found that after the onset of the economic downturn:
The extent of the decrease in engagement scores became smaller and
smaller with each successive age group.
Perceptions of engagement, supervisor support, inclusion, and job quality
declined for employees who felt that their job security had decreased, but it
stayed the same or only slightly declined for those whose job security had
stayed the same or increased.
Leading employers know that only those organizations that leverage the unprec-
edented age-diverse workforce will survive and thrive. Strategic workforce planning
and talent management are more important today than ever before.
The Sloan Center on Aging & Work is grateful for the generous support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for
the Age & Generations Study as well as other Center activities. We also want to express our appreciation for
the patient support of the 12 worksites that collaborated with us to make