Survey Finds Just Over Half Of Americans Report Job Satisfaction

Most Americans—51 percent of them—feel overall satisfaction with their jobs. The Conference Board’s survey of 1,500 employed individuals found that job satisfaction increased for the seventh year in a row and has increased each year since the Great Recession. During this period wages and job security saw the largest improvements. However, workers admit disappointment with their job’s professional development aspects, which the research organization highlighted as a warning signal for employers looking to attract and retain talent in today’s tight labor market.

“To attract and retain the most productive employees in today’s labor market, companies must make a bigger commitment to addressing the factors within their control,” said Rebecca L. Ray, Ph.D., a report author and executive vice president at The Conference Board. “Among other steps, that entails addressing the job components with which employees are least satisfied, including job training, the performance review process and promotion policy. As workers continue to voluntarily leave their jobs at a record rate, the need to prioritize components relating to their professional development could not come at a more pressing time.”

Through 2018 and 2019, the labor market is forecast to continue tightening, which will benefit employees and challenge employers. The survey report notes that companies will likely have to try harder to satisfy their workers for retention and productivity, and as a result, job satisfaction for employees will likely continue increasing.

“In 2019, we forecast unemployment to dip close to 3.5 percent, a low rate not seen since the 1960s,” says Gad Levanon, a report author and chief economist for North America at The Conference Board. “As a result, we can expect employers to continue reducing educational requirements in the hiring process, leading to fewer workers feeling overqualified in their jobs, which further raises their job satisfaction.”

Breaking down the survey’s results, The Conference Board found that job satisfaction is improving faster for lower-income households, as the tightening labor market is more visible in blue-collar and low-paid services occupations than in white-collar occupations. As a result, labor market conditions for these workers have improved, and so has their job satisfaction.

Among the survey’s 23 components, participants gave the highest marks to people at work, the commute to work, interest in work, their supervisor and physical environment. Participants gave the lowest marks to workload, educational/job training programs, performance review process, bonus plans and, in last place, promotion policy.

filed under August 2018
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