The latest trends in culture and society from The Harris Poll 

In a special newsletter to celebrate the end of 2022, we partnered with Forbes to detail the top ten Harris Polls that generated the most interest among our clients and staff. As our friend, Forbes’ Seth Matlins, said, “If there’s a common theme…it’s the rejection of the status quo, regardless of whether that status quo exists in the workplace, the marketplace, the physical and/or digital worlds, or in a rejection of traditional barriers to individual dignity and identity.”

Enjoy the holidays, and see you in 2023!

Changing Generational Values Sit Atop the C-Suite’s Risk Outlook and Concerns

Survey Said: Along with regulatory uncertainty, geopolitical instability, and supply chain constraints, Gen Z’s socially-minded consumption behaviors were cited by three-quarters (76%) of business leaders at The Milken Institute Global Conference as having an outsize impact on consumerism, the workplace, and the future of their business. Comparatively, only 12% said the Metaverse would have “a lot of an impact” on their business.

What to Consider in 2023: Gen Z will continue to craft a new value system and a world that looks different than what they’ve inherited. They will create and find new ways to be sustainable, to build communities for both work and pleasure (e.g., metaverse, TikTok), and new ways to achieve financial stability (web3, creator economy, unions, smart contracts etc.), all further accelerated by technological advances (e.g., Open AI, AR, XR).

Online Identity Is More Important Than Their “IRL” One

Survey Said: Over three-quarters of Gen Z and Millennials (79% and 77%, respectively) say being able to express different versions of themselves is important, and 62% of Millennials and 60% of Gen Z think “how you present yourself online is more important than how you present yourself in person.” Many say this with an eye to the metaverse, where over half of those 30 and under want to try on and explore different identities and expressions of the same.

What to Consider in 2023: How people identify is a good indicator of where they’ll spend time and money. Expect upticks in digital fashion, beauty, and other signifiers of identity (e.g., digital social clubs) over the next couple of years. Not only is digital fashion more sustainable than physical goods, but with augmented and mixed reality components, it has a depth that physical goods (at least until they’re integrated, don’t.)

Maybe You Can Buy Happiness

Survey Said: Throughout the year, 80% of Americans reported feeling anxious about inflation, the war in Ukraine, and the impacts of a looming recession. (As an aside, we’ll have whatever the other 20% are having.) How’d many of these people self-soothe? For 79%, it was good old-fashioned consumerism, as “spending to bring joy”, was their therapy of choice. And if the economy continues to worsen, over half (52%) say they’ll keep spending on the things that bring them joy.

What to Consider in 2023: There’s no real sense among different demographic groups that the pressures of today’s times will disappear anytime soon. Finding ways to create, inspire and bring joy, while always a good thing, becomes an even more important thing these days, even if it’s as simple as contributing to a #Foodtok.

TikTok Is Helping School the Kids

Survey Said: Nearly two-thirds of Gen Z TikTok-ers (63%) are using the app regularly to learn, not just pass the time. They’re engaging with the algorithm, creators, and community(ies) for P2P learning, community building, and brand discovery. 50% are searching for cooking recipes, 47% for fashion and/or beauty hacks, and 37% have searched for career advice. Using social media as a venue for learning may be a relatively newly discovered “youth thing,” but it’s also increasingly driving sales. Three-quarters of Gen Z say recommendations from social media influencers impact their decision to make a purchase, which is nearly double that of the gen-pop, 43% of whom do.

What to Consider in 2023: TikTok isn’t just a social media platform; it’s a center of gravity for Gen Z, who are more likely to use TikTok than Google to search. While US regulators are considering a stance on TikTok, a generation is raising their hand to participate in the platform, which is giving them more immersive pathways.

For Many Americans, The Great Resignation Wasn’t So Great

Survey Said: One in five workers (19%) who quit their jobs during the last two years regret it. Beyond regret, only 26% feel good enough about the job they got that they want to stick with it. 33% are already looking for their next opportunity.

What to Consider in 2023: The pandemic accelerated the ‘free-agent’ labor economy, a market where employees act more like athletes coming and going for the best offer. In this landscape, employees might be ok with a quick quit-and-replace strategy, even if they have regrets. To future-proof their workforce, employers need to devise long-term loyalty plans (e.g., best-in-class benefits and upskilling), while also encouraging an open-door policy for employees to return.

Under-Represented Populations Are Happier Working from Home

Survey Said: For those privileged enough to be able to work from home, over half (52%) of Black and (50%) of women professionals say WFH is better for advancing their careers than working from an office, compared to 42% of men. Home is where they feel more ambitious (Black: 63%, Women: 58% v. Men: 46%) and, sadly, more respected. 72% of women think they can speak their minds more freely and without interruption.

What to Consider in 2023: In times of transition, and these are that workplace best practices are being built and rebuilt in real-time. In 2023, consider how employers and employees continue to find the right hybrid balance and inclusive practices and as employees become more self-directed in how they work best.

But Working from Home Made It a Lonely Summer for America’s Interns

Survey Said: WFH and hybrid workplaces were decidedly less happy for younger generations. 55% of Gen Z interns and new hires said being in often empty offices and supervised at a distance by largely remote managers left them feeling they’d missed out on an adulting rite of passage. 57% said they didn’t feel respected or trusted by management, 48% felt their ideas get overlooked, and 43% said their managers don’t know how to manage them. More than half (61%) said that remote work made it difficult to establish connections, be mentored, and network.

What to Consider in 2023: Traditional intern playbooks don’t really work anymore. The (often) mid-level managers tasked with recruiting and managing interns don’t want to be tied to their desks for the summer but creating a funnel of next-generation recruits requires finding a balance that works for each.

Leveraging a Job Offer to Get a Raise

Survey Said: Over half of American workers (55%) are ready to use a job offer from another company to get a raise at their current one. This increases to 71% among Gen Z, and 68% of Millennials. As a tactic, this approach to leverage and compensation is already up nine percentage points among Gen Z just since January. Clearly, salary savvy is not age-constrained.

What to Consider in 2023: When employees are forced to act like ‘free market’ agents, employers may be forced to consider commensurate declines in productivity waste and job satisfaction. Demands for salary transparency will continue to rise, with more states like NY making it mandatory, so expect more companies to standardize base pay with metrics-linked bonus variables.

For Wealth and Equity, BIPOC Americans Bet On Crypto

Survey Said: Largely missing in the cultural conversation about the rise and fall (and rise and fall) of cryptocurrencies is what it represents for the historically under-represented, particularly people of color. 50% of BIPOC Americans said, “traditional financial institutions are not meant for people like me, and cryptocurrency offers me a way to invest my money independently of these systems.” BIPOC Americans are more likely to feel unfairly treated by the stock market (39%), banking and loan institutions (38%), and even financial advisors (35%) compared to white Americans (33%, 26%, 25%, respectively). This has led more BIPOC Americans to ownership of cryptocurrencies (Black: 31%, Hispanic: 31% v. white: 22%), even though they are less likely to have a 401k account (30% 35% v. 49%) or mutual funds (17%, 16%, v. 27%).

What to Consider in 2023: Despite the inherent risks, BIPOC Americans may continue to make alternative asset bets until they think traditional financial institutions design more equitable and transparent products and solutions. Even before the fall of FTX, cryptocurrency’s second largest exchange, Harris Poll’s data indicated a significant desire from consumers for government oversight and regulation in this space, along with wanting more education about the role cryptocurrency should play in a balanced portfolio.

Companies Have Much More DE&I Work to Do

Survey Said: For many people of color, corporate conversations about DEI are all talk and too little action. Despite the fact that 80% of HR managers said their companies had implemented diversity initiatives, only 6 in 10 Black employees (59%) say their companies have made a good effort to recruit and retain Black talent, with even fewer saying they’ve succeeded in increasing internal awareness about anti-Black bias and micro-aggressions (55%) or increasing transparency and accountability for racial diversity efforts (53%). The numbers continue to decline as relates to thinking their companies have increased racial diversity among managers, executives, and other leaders (49%) or have minimized pay inequities (44%).

What to Consider in 2023: Inclusion is the only way to sustainable diversity. To retain and recruit top talent, companies need to put racial equity at the core of their practices, not as an add-on. BIPOC employees are 3x as likely to consider leaving their jobs because of the emotional burden related to their race at work, which points to the need to rethink the workplace from the inside out to ensure people feel seen, heard, and respected.

Bonus Data Point:

Lastly, and on a less important note, the Harris duo offered another data-driven nugget. It turns out that while almost half (45%) of Americans have at least one tattoo, fully 45% of these, nearly 60 million Americans, have regrets about them and have had a tattoo removed or will soon. As for what then to consider in 2023…ink wisely, friends.

To hear about these stories and more, check out our America This Week: From The Harris Poll podcast on Spotify and Apple Podcasts, where our CEO John Gerzema and CSO Libby Rodney dive into the numbers. For any polling ideas, reach out to [email protected].

Lastly, check out the latest America This Week monthly summary slide deck and tabs for more insights into inflation and worker sentiment Download the November report here.

Download the Data

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by The Harris Poll from December 16th to December 18th, among a nationally representative sample of 2,017 U.S. adults.

John Gerzema headshot

John Gerzema


Download the Data

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by The Harris Poll from December 16th to December 18th, among a nationally representative sample of 2,017 U.S. adults.


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