Highlights of the Results
The underlying data source for this research, described below, is large, credible, and designed with a sample that allows for examining young workers, along with smaller groups such as workers of color, families with young children, and people with low income.
The results, covered in more depth in the full research report, span a range of measures and demographic groups:
- Employee-owners in this dataset have 33% higher median income from wages overall. This holds true at all wage levels, ranging from a difference of $3,160 in annual wages for the lowest-paid employee-owners to an extra $5,000 for higher-wage workers.
- Median household net wealth among respondents is 92% higher for employee-owners than for non-employee-owners. This disparity holds true for the great majority of subgroups analyzed, including single women, parents raising young children, non-college graduates, and workers of color.
- Employee-owners are much more likely to have access to an array of benefits at work, including flexible work schedules, retirement plans, parental leave, and tuition reimbursement. For example, 23% of employee-owners have access to childcare benefits, compared to 5% of non-employee-owners.
- Employee-owners in this dataset have substantially more job stability than non-employee-owners: their median tenure with their current employer is 5.2 years, compared to 3.4 years for the non-employee-owners.
- In 2013, the median employee-owner had household income equal to 378% of the poverty line, compared with 293% of the poverty line for non-employee-owners. Most of this difference emerged over a period of years—the two groups had nearly the same median income-to-poverty ratios in 1997.
- For families with children ages 0 to 8 in their household, the employee-ownership advantage translates into median household net worth nearly twice that of those without employee ownership, nearly one full year of increased job stability, and $10,000 more in annual wages.
- Employee-owners of color in this data have 30% higher income from wages, 79% greater net household wealth, and median tenure in their current job 36% over non-employee-owners of color.
These relationships persist across demographic groups and over time, and in statistical models that control for other demographic factors. Over-time analysis demonstrates that the two groups start out at the same modest level of wealth. Multivariate regression analysis shows that employee ownership is significantly related to higher wages after controlling for other strong predictors, including education, race, gender, and marital status. Employee ownership is strongly predictive of longer job tenure controlling for these factors and wages. Longer job tenure is in turn strongly predictive of household wealth.
The National Longitudinal Surveys (NLS), sponsored by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, are nationally representative surveys that follow the same sample of individuals from specific birth cohorts over time. The content of the survey covers nearly every aspect of the labor market experience of workers, including wages, income, wealth, and benefits.
This report uses data from a sample of 5,504 women and men, including an oversample of African Americans and Latinos, first interviewed in 1997. All the respondents were ages 28 to 34 when interviewed most recently in 2013.
The analysis examines the characteristics of workers with employee ownership at their workplace (employee-owners) compared to workers without such benefits (non-employee-owners). Most of the analysis focuses on currently employed people. The main method is to compare outcomes across comparable groups. For example, the median household net wealth of single women who are employee-owners is $9,089, while the median household net wealth of single women who are not employee-owners is $6,000.
The data are described in more detail in the appendix, available in the full research report.
The NCEO will continue to analyze this data and to integrate results from new surveys and other sources. This website will be updated as new results are available.