Job satisfaction in U.S. hit a record low in 2009 — and there are far more factors at work than the economic downturn.
According to recent study by the Conference Board, just 45% of workers reported “contentment” with their jobs.
The most affected group is workers under 25 — with just 35.7% reporting that they’re “satisfied” with their current positions.
Of course, the economy is part of the problem — with laid off workers being forced to pick up positions that are often both less rewarding and lower paying.
But the economy doesn’t account for a startling trend that has been on display since the Conference Board began tracking job satisfaction: Worker satisfaction has been steadily decreasing since 1987.
These findings are troubling for employers, as dissatisfied employees can be a tremendous drain on productivity and morale.
To improve satisfaction, experts suggest giving workers more responsibility and leadership opportunities, as well as cross-training them in different job functions. But be careful: Shouldering employees with greater responsibility without any type of recognition (pay raise, title change, etc.) is likely to have the opposite effect on satisfaction.
It’s also a good idea to track employees’ engagement. Example: One company, Accenture, regularly sends out individual engagement surveys to its employees to get a feel for their work/life balance. Unlike typical surveys that simply gauge a firm’s success with career development, Accenture polls employees on how their quality of life has been while working with the company.
The surveys let employees rank life quality in comparison with factors such as benefits and salary. The company is also rated (and ranked by employees in order of personal importance) in the following areas:
- diversity and reputation
- competitive rewards, and