Friday, June 29, 2012Americans of all ages and income brackets have the highest job satisfaction levels since the beginning of The Great Recession. However, the majority continue to be unhappy at work, according to a recent report from The Conference Board.
The report, based on a fall 2011 survey of 5,000 U.S. households conducted for The Conference Board by The Nielsen Company, finds 47.2 percent of Americans are satisfied with their jobs. Though a slight improvement from 2010 and 2009 — when the figure stood at 42.6 and 45.3 percent, respectively — job satisfaction remains below the 48.8 percent recorded in 2008. According to the report, 2005 was the last year in which a majority of Americans was happy at work (52.1 percent), but compared to the 1980s and '90s, widespread dissatisfaction has been entrenched since the turn of the century.
Though the overall numbers remain negative, there are many key upward trends such as higher satisfaction with job security, wages, promotion policy, educational/job training, and bonus plan. Employees are reporting higher interest in their jobs, relationships with fellow employees, and the level of recognition and acknowledgment from supervisors. All these higher assessments reflect the over many job aspects that were rated more favorably in 2011 than in 2010.
Worker satisfaction rates by income levels are mixed. Year-to-year satisfaction rates dropped slightly among those earning an annual salary of $15,000 – $25,000 as well as those earning $35,000 – $50,000. However, those earning under $15,000 annually as well as those earning between $25,000 and $35,000 and over $50,000 were more satisfied in 2011 than 2010. Satisfaction among those earning more than $50,000 has risen 6 percentage points since 2009.
Additionally, workers have a mixed reaction to economic elements of their jobs. On the positive side, workers indicated their job security, wages, promotion policy, bonus plans, vacation policy, sick leave, health plans, pension/retirement, flex time, family leave, and education/job training were better in 2011 than in 2010. However, workers have become increasingly dissatisfied with their health care plans since 1987. Only 40 percent of employees are satisfied with their current health plan, down from 50 percent in 1987.
In a bright spot, 55.2 percent of employees were satisfied with their supervisor, up from 49.1 in 2010 and 58 percent of workers were satisfied with their physical environment, up from 48 percent in the previous year. Similarly, 55 percent of workers were satisfied with the quality of their equipment, up nearly 11 percent from 2010, a sign that companies may be beginning to invest infrastructure.
Source: The Conference Board
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