Research isn’t just for the data scientists or companies hiring. Research also offers an intimate lens into not only the pervasive conditions in our society, but also the unique experience of individuals and communities within. The numbers can tell us the stress points and highlight imbalances as well as make a case for the necessity of change.
Semi-annually, Cancer and Careers partners with Harris Poll to report on the work-related experiences of cancer patients and survivors who are either employed or unemployed but looking for work.
For many members of our community, the numbers in these surveys may also offer a moment of validation that you are not alone. There are others, across the country, navigating the complexities of a diagnosis and an employment market that too often is balanced unfairly.
This year, our Harris Poll surveyed 876 cancer patients and survivors about their experiences in the workplace during COVID-19. We also commissioned Wakefield Research to survey 100 Black and 100 Hispanic adults diagnosed with cancer, to better understand the issues they’ve faced working after a diagnosis.
Some insights from the Harris Poll report show:
Half (50%) of those who worked or are working full or part-time through treatment feel they have no choice in the matter. In fact, the financial incentive is the most common reason, by far, that people diagnosed with cancer want to work (59%). Still, around half say they want to work because they currently feel well enough to do so (49%) and they want things to feel as normal as possible (48%). A strong majority (81%) currently understand the safety protocols being implemented for work, but more than a third (38%) fear contracting COVID-19 while working on site. To safely participate in on-site work, more than threequarters (78%) of individuals diagnosed with cancer say it is important that their company have vaccine requirement policies in place.
Key points from the Wakefield Research report include:
Feelings of discrimination are a perennial issue for Black and Hispanic employees, with more than half (51%) of patients and survivors saying their race or ethnicity played a negative role in how they were treated at work before diagnosis (56%) and after diagnosis (55%). More than half (55%) of Black and Hispanic cancer survivors who earn less than $50K report being treated differently than their co-workers when they were diagnosed, compared to just 26% of those who earn $50K or more. Those earning less than $50K were also more likely to encounter insensitive comments (31% to 19%). Most (53%) in jobs that earn under $50K worried about getting fired if they shared their diagnosis, compared to just 26% at $50K or more.
We hope you will read the full report here.
Cancer and Careers remains committed to hearing directly from you, our community, about your experiences with work and cancer. Our programs are designed to help address the many challenges you may face including taking time off, managing side effects, your legal rights in the workplace, making a career change and more. Please feel free to reach out to us so we can learn about how to support you!