Americans Want to Work for Employee Owned Companies

For nearly the last decade, the Employee Ownership Foundation has provided the funding necessary to collect data regarding employee ownership as part of the General Social Survey (GSS).  This survey, and the data it produces, is considered the gold-standard for data used by academic researchers interested in studying the American population.  The data is openly available and has subsequently been used by academics to better understand Americans’ attitudes toward employee ownership and the impact it has on their lives.  This new report published by Dr. Joseph Blasi and Dr. Doug Kruse of Rutgers University analyzed the newest release of GSS data and observed the overwhelming and uniquely bi-partisan support for employee ownership across all demographics and citizen profiles.


Key findings:

  • 72 percent of respondents to a nationwide survey would prefer to work for a company owned by the employees.
  • Turnover at employee owned companies is three times lower than at conventionally owned businesses.

 Americans want to work for companies that are owned by their employees, reveals a 2019 analysis funded by the Employee Ownership Foundation and conducted by the Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing at Rutgers University. Nearly three-fourths of respondents—72 percent—to the General Social Survey* (GSS) would rather work for an employee-owned company than one owned by conventional shareholders or the government. The data collection was funded by the Employee Ownership Foundation as part of a research effort dating back to 2004.

This strong preference can be a key differentiator for employee owned businesses—one that gives them a unique edge when engaged in the heated competition to attract and retain talented employees.

In fact, additional research from the Institute shows that when employee ownership is coupled with a workplace culture offering high employee empowerment, the result is dramatically low turnover rates.

Another reason employee owned businesses may succeed at retaining employees is that they are far more likely to provide employee training. The GSS data show that employee owned companies provide training at a rate 1.3 times that of conventionally owned businesses.

* The GSS is a rigorous nationwide study consisting of personal interviews and conducted through NORC at the University of Chicago. The GSS has been conducted since 1972 and is understood to be the single best source for sociological and attitudinal trend data covering the United States. The Foundation funds the insertion of employee ownership questions into the GSS.