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U.S. firms globally competitive, U.S. workers aren’t: Harvard Biz

A new survey spells good news for companies but bad news for workers when it comes to competing internationally.

Related: Freelance nation: One-third of U.S. workers are freelancers

The survey of 1,947 Harvard Business School alumni revealed that 31% believe companies will be able to compete better globally in the next three years, while in contrast, 41% see lower wages and benefits for U.S. workers, according to The Wall Street Journal. The business executives who participated in the survey name weaknesses like a poor national K-12 education system -- which impacts future workers -- while on the other hand they highlight strengths like high-quality capital markets, which largely benefit companies.

"It's hard to disagree when you look at what's going on with corporate profits at an all-time high, the S&P 500 (^GSPC) at all-time high, profits margins at or near an all-time high, and the average worker with no wage gains for decades," Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Aaron Task says in the video above, in response to the survey's findings. "It does seem corporations 'have it all.'"

Meanwhile, there's more evidence of headwinds for U.S. workers.

U.S. employers are planning to give workers raises averaging 3% next year, about the same as the 2.9% average raise in 2014 and 2013. That's according to a survey of close to 1,100 U.S. companies released Monday from compensation consultant Tower Watson, reports USA Today. That means raises for average workers are running just above inflation of 2%, according to the Labor Department. 

And with low-wage retail and restaurant jobs leading private sector job growth for four years, new research reveals the plight of these workers to get stable schedules and a firm concept of how much money they can count on earning.

Related: Jobs number really is as bad as it seems: Hugh Johnson

Another report released Monday surveyed 236 retail workers in Manhattan and Brooklyn and found just 40% had set minimum hours a week, according to The New York Times. The survey was conducted by a professor at City University of New York along with the Retail Action Project, a union- and foundation-backed workers advocacy group.

Related: Fast food workers strike for higher pay, dozens arrested: "Whatever it takes"

The Times reports the hardship of retail workers as: "The frantic scramble to get assigned enough hours to earn a living on painfully low wages; the ever-changing, on-call schedules that upend child care arrangements, college schedules and desperate efforts to find second jobs." The paper points to workers and government officials increasingly pushing for change, in response. Some retail companies such as Starbucks (SBUX) are vowing to do things differently (in response to a Times article), and policies at Macy's (M) in New York (where workers are represented by a union) appear to show more stability is possible.

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