NEW YORK — A mere 19% of people around the world say their work life is in sync with what their employers said it would be — putting companies’ reputations, and ability to recruit and retain staff, at risk, according to a new Weber Shandwick report.

The study, however, also found businesses do have room for improving the situation, as only 7% of respondents said there is absolutely no alignment between how companies portray themselves and what working for them is really like. The largest group of employees, 74%, said their companies’ brands and real-life experience are marginally aligned, meaning businesses could move the needle in their favor by living up to their branding, the report said.

Industries with the largest group of “marginally aligned” employees include consumer packaged goods (84%); healthcare/biotechnology/pharmaceutical (80%); professional services and retail (78%); and industrial/manufacturing (76%).

Those findings are based on Weber Shandwick and KRC Research’s survey of 1,902 full-time employees in 19 markets worldwide — research that goes under the header, “The Employer Brand Credibility Gap: Bridging the Divide.”

In addition to studying brand credibility among employees, the study makes the case that businesses would reap benefits — better recruitment and retention, stronger brand support and increased productivity among them — from taking the steps necessary to improve employees’ perceptions of them.

For instance, 74% of workers who see alignment between their employer’s brand and work experience are likely to recommend that friends work for the company, versus the 54% who do so on average. Those employees are also more likely to buy their companies’ products (59% vs 49%), and praise them online (41% vs 23%), the study found.

In addition, 77% of aligned companies’ employees are likely to stay in their jobs in the next year, versus the 64% who do so on average. Satisfaction pays off in productivity, too, as 54% of employees working at aligned companies are likely to put extra effort into their work, versus 40% of staffers at other organizations.

Garnering credibility with employees is no easy feat, however, as it involves a multitude of steps starting with companies understanding their existing reputation among talent, the report said. An internal review and changing the employee experience so that it better reflects the company’s values and promises are also among the challenges, it said.