To better understand workplace preparedness and behavioral trends, University of Phoenix® commissioned a 2017 survey of 2,191 U.S. adults on how Americans manage conflict in the workplace and communicate with their employers. The survey revealed some discrepancies between men and women in how they position themselves in the workplace.

Half of U.S. adults report being at least somewhat comfortable negotiating their salaries.

Although 50 percent of adults report they are “very comfortable” or “somewhat comfortable” negotiating their salaries, men and women have differing comfort levels. Over half of men are very or somewhat comfortable negotiating their salaries, whereas only 42 percent of women report the same.  

The majority of U.S. adults (56 percent) report a good workplace culture offered by their employer, and 70 percent say they’re comfortable defending themselves or their work to their supervisors.  

When it comes to managing workplace conflict, more men than women report being comfortable when confronting a coworker with an issue (66 percent vs. 51 percent) or bringing an internal problem to human resources (58 percent vs. 45 percent).

Additional Findings

  • 29 percent of respondents frequently or occasionally use inappropriate language in the workplace.  
  • 32 percent of respondents wish they had developed better computer skills before entering the workforce.
  • One in four respondents wish they had developed better people-management skills (24 percent) and emotional intelligence (25 percent) before entering the workforce.
  • 37 percent of respondents reported using a sick day when they weren’t sick.
  • One-third (33 percent) of respondents say they shop online during work hours.


The workplace trends and career preparedness survey was conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of University of Phoenix from July 7-9, 2017, among a national sample of 2,191 adults. The interviews were conducted online and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on age, race/ethnicity, gender, educational attainment and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points. For complete survey methodology including weighting variables, please contact Angela Heisel.