It seems that every day, there's another study or report regarding how satisfied people are at work. According to the latest from the Conference Board, the majority of those employed in the US dislike their current jobs.
What's really important (according to the report) is what they dislike.
- It's not their supervisor - "Somewhat surprisingly, 53% of surveyed workers said they were happy with their immediate supervisor"
- It's not their working conditions - " . . . 52% are satisfied with the physical environment at work. "
- It's not the work itself, which many find interesting and rewarding.
It's the other stuff. " . . . when the questions turn to money, the discontent shows. Thirty-six percent of workers are happy with their wages, while just 21% are happy with the bonus plan at work. Less than one-fourth of workers are happy with the promotion policy at work, with fewer than a third satisfied with their potential for future growth."
Another factor that is important to consider is age. The majority of older workers (55+), particularly those making over $50K per year, are happy with their jobs. Contrast this with younger workers:
"Less than two out of every five workers under the age of 25 are satisfied with their jobs. This segment of the population has the lowest level of satisfaction and the lowest level ever recorded in the nearly 20-year history of this survey."
Given the new emphasis on retention at many companies, where a significant percentage of the over 55 workforce is expected to retire soon, this is a chilling prospect.
Although the shift from minority dissatisfaction to the majority view is new, it's been moving that direction for years. The problems are not new. What remains to be seen are (a) deeper looks at the root causes of dissatisfaction with compensation and prospects for the future and (b) some new ideas to address the situation. For instance, has the continued rise in executive compensation been a major or minor contributing factor to employee dissatisfaction with pay? What other factors are major contributors to the negative trends in job satisfaction?
We've had long enough to admire the problem. Let's see some solutions.