Better pay back as No. 1 issue for workersNews added by Benefits Pro on May 8, 2014

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By Allen Greenberg

With the economy recovering, Americans appear to be most interested in better pay after enduring years of frozen wages or nominal bumps in compensation.

That’s the upshot of a survey released Thursday by the Society of Human Resource Management that asked people what was most important to them in terms of job satisfaction.

Sixty percent said compensation, making it the biggest contributor. The survey asked respondents about the importance of 35 different contributors to job satisfaction.

The last time compensation/pay was the top contributor to overall job satisfaction was the pre-recession period of 2006 and 2007, SHRM said.

“Incomes have grown slowly since the recession, and that undoubtedly is having an impact on workers’ priorities and one explanation for the leap to the forefront by compensation,” Evren Esen, director of SHRM’s Survey Research Center, said in a statement.

Esen noted that four generations of employees ranked compensation/pay as either the top or second-ranked aspect of job satisfaction. Employees at all job levels — with the exception of executives — ranked it as one of the top three contributors to overall job satisfaction.

According to the survey, more than one-half (56 percent) of employees reported receiving a raise in the last year, a 6 percentage point increase from 2012. But a much smaller portion (36 percent) of employees received a bonus in the last 12 months, a 3 percentage point decrease from the previous year.

SHRM surveys employees’ job satisfaction and engagement annually. The survey released Thursday was conducted last summer and polled 600 randomly selected employees at small to large companies.

The survey showed that 81 percent of U.S. employees were satisfied overall with their current job, unchanged from 2012. It was the first time in eight years that employee job satisfaction has not changed from the previous year.

The survey also showed:
  • Seventy-three percent of employees said they were satisfied with their relationships with co-workers, and 70 percent were satisfied with their relationship with their immediate supervisor.

  • Sixty-eight percent of employees thought their work was interesting, challenging and exciting and were satisfied with it, a drop from 76 percent in 2011.

  • Seventy-nine percent of employees said they were determined to accomplish their work goals and confident that they could meet them, making it the top factor measuring employee engagement.

  • Less than two-thirds (62 percent) of employees said they had passion and excitement about their work.
The full survey report is available here.

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