Worker satisfaction slowly improvingNews added by Benefits Pro on June 19, 2014

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Joined: September 07, 2011

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By Dan Cook

Is it possible to be happier but still not happy? For U.S. workers, the answer apparently is “yes.”

That’s among the findings of a Conference Board study that sought feedback on job satisfaction. Nielsen did the research, based on input from 5,000 U.S. households.

Overall, less than half of Americans (47.7 percent) are satisfied with their jobs. The Conference Board noted that this is an improvement from the all-time low of 42.6 percent reported in 2010. But it’s still hardly a reason to break out the Champagne.

“Job satisfaction remains historically low, extending a trend seen since the turn of the century. While job satisfaction in the 1980s and '90s routinely neared 60 percent or higher, 2005 was the last year in which a majority of Americans was satisfied at work (52.1 percent),” the board reported.

The surveyors asked respondents about overall satisfaction and also specific areas of satisfaction related to their jobs. Among the details that emerged:
  • Satisfaction with compensation, recognition and career development are near 10-year highs;

  • Satisfaction rates were good when it came to such workplace environment factors as colleagues, one's interest in one's job, commuting, supervisors and the physical work environment;

  • Dissatisfaction was high in such areas as promotion policies, bonuses, training and performance reviews;

  • Strong contributors to satisfaction were communications channels, interest in work, recognition and workload;

  • Respondents gave low priority to commute to work, health plan, retirement plan, sick day policy, and vacation policy;

  • Big room for improvement was revealed in the areas of growth potential, communication channels, recognition, performance review, and wages.
“Based on macro trends — including a significantly tighter labor market, slowing productivity growth, and more business investment — worker satisfaction should be on the rise,” said Gad Levanon, director of macroeconomic research at The Conference Board and a co-author of the report. “But job dissatisfaction may remain entrenched until we see improvements in worker compensation, which has grown abysmally in recent years despite historically high corporate profits.”

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