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Poll: Most North Carolina Workers Happy with Their Jobs

by Kirk O’Steen, Political Director

New polling shows that most workers in North Carolina are happy with their jobs and enjoy the work they do. The NC Chamber, in partnership with the ECU Center for Survey Research, commissioned a poll of 830 North Carolinians to answer a series of questions in relation to their occupation, employers, and overall thoughts on our state’s leadership.

To ensure an accurate sampling of working North Carolinians, respondents that did not work full-time in North Carolina or identified as self-employed were excluded. Next, the sample was weighted for several demographics such as age, race, and education level to percentages reflective of the state’s latest census numbers. Responses were gathered through randomized cell phone samples and two demographically representative online panels. Online panels were conducted by Bovitz and Clint (formerly Lucid). Responses were received between Feb. 12-18, 2023.

Key Findings

Job Satisfaction

A large majority of workers in North Carolina express enjoyment with the work they do, as well as enjoyment in the interactions they have with their coworkers.

We see that over 87% of respondents enjoy their work and coworkers at least some of the time, with only 12% saying they “rarely” enjoy their work or don’t enjoy it at all. These numbers are in line with the findings of a 2021 global study from Gallup, which said eight out of ten workers in the United States enjoy what they do for a living. These numbers are an encouragement to the business community who has been looking for solutions for finding and retaining their workforce.

North Carolina workers express high levels of satisfaction with the pay and benefits they receive from their job.

Over a third of our surveyed workers say they are “Very satisfied” with the pay and benefits they receive. Even with the recent rise of inflation, 85% of respondents are satisfied with their pay.

An overwhelming majority of working North Carolinians are happy with their employers’ ability to accommodate flexibility and work life balance.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, companies had to innovate to continue operations while keeping their employees safe. Many organizations shifted to flexible scheduling and increased remote work options available to employees. According to our results, most employees are happy with the flexibility their company provides and feel like they can achieve a reasonable work/life balance.

Employer Trust

Nearly three out of four respondents said they feel that their employer cares about their well-being. Additionally, we asked workers who they would trust to provide accurate information in the event of another pandemic, similar to COVID-19.

Back in 2020, the NC Chamber fought regulations that would take away each company’s ability to implement the safety protocols that best fit their employees and customers. From the data in this survey, we can conclude that employees do generally trust their employer to make these decisions and value their overall wellbeing.

Contentious Social Issues

In the last few years, we’ve seen many companies take a public stand on political issues or pending legislation. We wanted to know what employees thought about their employer taking such a stand.

While many were undecided on the issue, most respondents preferred that their employer stayed neutral on politically controversial social issues. When we separated the responses by which 2020 Presidential candidate the respondent reported voting for, we start to see a noticeable difference between Trump and Biden voters on the question. However, “Remain neutral” was still the most popular response.

Other Notable Differences

While there is strong agreement and similarities in sentiments towards job-related experiences from all respondents, there were some notable differences that presented themselves in the cross tabulations.


Workers age 50 and above are more likely to enjoy and report less stress from their jobs, but they are less satisfied than younger workers with their pay and benefits. Older workers are also less trusting than younger workers of government sources and the news media to provide them with accurate information, but they are more trusting than younger workers of their employer.


College-educated workers express more satisfaction with their unpaid benefits and are more likely to say that their employer cares about their well-being than are workers without a four-year college degree. Yet, college-educated workers are also more likely to report stress on the job than workers without a four-year college degree.

Public Versus Private Sector

Public-sector workers are more trusting than private-sector workers of various sources, including the federal government, state government, news media, employer, and doctor/health care provider, to offer accurate information about a future pandemic.

Final Thoughts

This survey shows that workers are generally very satisfied with their work situations. The responses should be an encouragement to employers statewide as they continue to invest in their people. It also provides areas to further analyze the experiences of workers from all backgrounds to ensure the best practices are in place to make all employees feel valued in the workplace.

You can read the full polling memo here.

The East Carolina University Center of Survey Research is led by Director Peter L. Francia, Ph.D., and Senior Polling Scientist Jonathan S. Morris, Ph.D. Sometimes referred to as the ECU Poll, the Center quickly gained national recognition for its outstanding work in public polling, with results featured in major media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, Politico, and Washington Post. You can learn more about the Center here.

The NC Chamber Political Program informs NC Chamber members through data-driven analysis. In addition to the direct work of the NC Chamber PAC, the NC Chamber Voter Education program gives NC Chamber members the ability to hold lawmakers accountable to the North Carolina job creators and workers they serve.

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