Whatever Happened to Job Satisfaction?
The latest Conference Board report on job satisfaction isn’t good – only 45% of those surveyed say they’re satisfied with their jobs (based on a sample of 5000 US households).
Not a shocker considering the current economy. I know many people unhappy with their work – due to constant downsizing of resources (one can only ‘do more with less’ for so long) and lack of leadership in uncertain times. These folks are just waiting to bolt when the economy improves and better jobs become available.
What surprised me, however, is this latest survey shows an overall decline in job satisfaction over the past 20 years – including times when the economy was robust.
According to The Conference Board:
“The drop in job satisfaction between 1987 [the first year of this survey] and 2009 covers all categories in the survey, from interest in work to job security and crosses all four of the key drivers of employee engagement: job design, organizational health, managerial quality, and extrinsic rewards.”
On second thought, maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. For more than 30 years now I’ve been advocating internal marketing as a way to engage employees and customers.
I’m not sure what the answer is … perhaps growing attention to the study of employee engagement will help reverse this trend. In the meantime, I try to find and learn from the folks who enjoy their workplace. And when that seems to be a challenge, I page through Zappos’ Culture Book to keep from getting discouraged.
Personally I was quite surprised that 45% of workers are satisfied with their job. When I really sit down and think about it, I can’t think of a large number of people who seem to like what they do, but I can definitely think of a lot who don’t like their jobs. I was also surprised that the job satisfaction rate has decreased over the past 30 years. It would make sense that it has been decreasing since the tech bubble burst 10 years ago (was it really that long ago?), but it doesn’t make sense that it was decreasing the years before that.