America This Week: Upskilling Trumps a College Degree, Trouble at the Border, The Tricky Issue of Religion & DEI, And America Can Agree on Trees.

The latest trends in society and culture from The Harris Poll

Is Crypto heading into a bear market? News headlines report that Bitcoin heads for its worst month since 2022. Yet, in Our America This Week poll, conducted April 26th to 28th among 2,093 Americans, a fifth of Americans (21%) are likely to invest in Crypto, especially Millennials (38%) and Hispanic Americans (37%). 

This week, we have four new stories: First, a new global study with ETS finds that upskilling is critical to navigating the future of work. Also, in our latest Axios Vibes survey, we find that more Americans support the mass deportation of illegal immigrants. Then, does religion belong in workplace DEI programming? We dive in with HR Brew. Lastly, we find that Americans can agree on trees.

The Road To Success Is Paved With Upskilling: ETS-Harris Poll

Our CEO John Gerzema and CSO Libby Rodney were excited to be in D.C. on panels at the Educational Testing Service (ETS) convening “Ethical AI and the Future of Skills.” 

On a panel moderated by ETS CEO Amit Sevak, they discussed key findings from our inaugural Human Progress Report, a study of 17,000 people in 17 countries: 

  • Eight in ten globally identify themselves as “lifetime learners,” as (88%) feel continuous learning is essential to succeed in today’s society, while (84%) agree, “Upskilling and reskilling isn’t a choice; it’s a necessity to compete in today’s job market.”
  • Strikingly, people believe a college diploma is where you’ve been, not where you’re going: (78%) say that by 2035, evidence of new skills acquired will be as valued as a university degree.
  • And three-quarters (75%) feel their skills may become outdated as technology evolves.
  • However, there are barriers to access: The top three barriers that hinder upskilling participation are expenses and lack of financial resources (53%), lack of economic rewards, benefits, or recognition for the effort (41%), and limited upskilling opportunities (36%).

Takeaway: The report, overseen by our colleagues Libby Rodney and Abbey Lunney, suggests that given AI’s influence on the future of work, upskilling increasingly mirrors the importance of formal education. With this rapid evolution and obsolescence of skills, individuals globally voice the need for continuous skill acquisition to ‘tack’ with the market changes. Notably, (83%) say AI will necessitate reevaluating skills we consider essential in the workplace and would require workers to have technical and human skills.

Immigration Today: Axios Vibes By The Harris Poll

In the latest installment of Axios Vibes By The Harris Poll, we examine American sentiment around immigration, which is boiling over, to say the least:

  • Amid a record number of border crossings, nearly two-thirds (64%) of Americans said the current U.S. southern border situation is a real crisis, not a politically driven media narrative.
  • Half (51%) of Americans – including (42%) of Democrats – would support mass deportations of undocumented immigrants.

  • The survey found discrepancies between Americans’ perceptions of immigration and the reality established by data: (64%) wrongly believed immigrants receive more in welfare and benefits than they pay in taxes, and (56%) that illegal immigration is linked to spiking U.S. crime rates.
  • Immigrate the right way: Americans strongly support immigration as long as it is lawful, with (65%) thinking the U.S. should make it easier for anyone seeking a better life to enter legally and (58%) supporting expanding legal pathways for orderly immigration.

Takeaway: “I was surprised at the public support for large-scale deportations,” said Mark Penn, chairman of The Harris Poll and a former pollster for President Clinton. “I think they’re just sending a message to politicians: ‘Get this under control,'” he said, calling it a warning to Biden that “efforts to shift responsibility for the issue to Trump are not going to work. The tradeoff here in the poll is that people would take expanded legal immigration if they saw a crackdown on the border.”

Mixed Feelings If Religion Belongs In Workplace DEI: HR Brew-Harris Poll

As employees’ needs and employers’ budgets have evolved, so have DE&I teams. According to our latest research with HR Brew, some advocate for religion to be part of DE&I programming.

  • The state of DEI: Two-thirds (67%) of Americans think companies should have a formal DE&I program.
  • Yet, only one-half (49%) of employees reported that their company has a formal initiative, while (22%) needed to be sure. Of those, (43%) reported having religious/faith DEI programming.
  • But employees were split over whether or not religion should be part of DE&I: (54%) said it would be appropriate to integrate it into DE&I, while (41%) said it shouldn’t – more than those who said the same about disability (26%), race (31%), and gender (33%).
  • Workplace tensions might be driving the split: (41%) said that conflicts related to faith/religion have caused tension at their workplace.
  • Warning sign: Even though (78%) of Americans want companies to reflect the diversity of the U.S. population, (49%) find the term DEI divisive in our previous research.

Takeaway: Some religious experts believe creating workplaces where employees can have an open dialogue about religion and bring their whole selves, including their religious identity, could help. We are seeing it in action already as companies such as Target, SAP, and Intel have become vocal about including religion and faith in their DE&I initiatives.

Trees Are More Than What They Seem: The Arbor Day Foundation-Harris Poll

Spring is finally here, and according to new Harris research with the Arbor Day Foundation in Forbes, Americans crave more access to the natural world under the shade of a maple, oak, or walnut. Please take a look at the full report here.

  • Over four in five (82%) Americans consider spending time around trees and green spaces important for their mental well-being.
  • And (85%) say that spending time in nature surrounded by trees is like a reset button for their mind and soul.
  • However, accessibility is challenging, as over half (56%) must drive to the nearest park or green space.
  • Biodiversity isn’t just for individuals: Previous research with the Arbor Day Foundation found that (71%) of consumers said they are “more loyal to companies that take an active role in protecting the environment.”

Takeaway: Foundation chief executive Dan Lambe said, “There has never been a more important time for trees” as the world tries to tackle issues like the climate crisis, extreme heat, and rising childhood asthma rates. “The big lesson for us is that people get it… and they also recognize that it takes government, non-government, and private sector leaders to make a difference in this situation.”

Download the Data

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by The Harris Poll from April 26th to 28th, among a nationally representative sample of 2,093 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 April 26th to 28th, among a nationally representative sample of 2,093 U.S. adults.


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