If you’re not happy with your job, you’re not alone. While job satisfaction has increased significantly since the depths of the Great Recession, 53% of Americans are not satisfied with their jobs, according to a recent annual job satisfaction survey by the Conference Board. A majority of American workers haven’t been happy with their job since 2005 when 52% of workers looked forward to the work day. In fact, job satisfaction has been decreasing at a steady rate since the 1990s.
As the report points out, given the high unemployment rate and sluggish economy, many of those surveyed indicated that their job satisfaction was related more to having a job than it was to enjoying what they were doing. It wasn’t surprising that younger workers expressed more satisfaction with their jobs than older workers who have been harder hit by unemployment. Following recession-driven layoffs, many older workers were forced to accept part-time jobs or jobs at lower positions for lower salaries.
It was no surprise that job satisfaction varied with income level, but some of the income levels that generated the greatest job satisfaction were a surprise. While job satisfaction was generally lower for people earning less than $50,000, the happiest workers were those earning less than $15,000, between $25,000 and $35,000 or more than $50,000.
Besides wages, other factors driving job satisfaction were:
- Job security
- Opportunities for advancement
- Healthcare and retirement benefits
- Vacation policy
- Sick and family leave policies
- Flexible work hours
- Good working relationship with manager, co-workers
- Recognition of job performance
- Education and job training opportunities
- Safe and healthy work environment
Beyond the basics of job security and salary level, workers were most dissatisfied with changes to their healthcare benefits, particularly loss of insurance and increases in the amount of employee contributions. Increased workloads and increased commuting time as layoffs and business closings have forced workers to look for jobs farther from home also ranked high on worker dissatisfaction scores.
Next time: How to find a job you’ll love
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