U.S. Job Satisfaction Keeps Falling

Article ID: 510125

Released: 28-Feb-2005 7:10 PM EST

Source Newsroom: Conference Board

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Newswise — Americans are growing increasingly unhappy with their jobs, The Conference Board reports today. The decline in job satisfaction is widespread among workers of all ages and across all income brackets.

Half of all Americans today say they are satisfied with their jobs, down from nearly 60 percent in 1995. But among the 50 percent who say they are content, only 14 percent say they are "very satisfied."

This report, which is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households, conducted for The Conference Board by TNS, a leading market information company (LSE: TNN), also includes information collected independently by TNS. This information reveals that approximately one-quarter of the American workforce is simply "showing up to collect a paycheck."

"Rapid technological changes, rising productivity demands and changing employee expectations have all contributed to the decline in job satisfaction," says Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board's Consumer Research Center. "As large numbers of baby boomers prepare to leave the workforce, they will be increasingly replaced by younger workers, who tend to be as dissatisfied with their jobs, but have different attitudes and expectations about the role of work in their lives. This transition will present a new challenge for employers."

MONEY CAN'T BUY ME LOVE The survey finds that job satisfaction has declined across all income brackets in the last nine years. While 55 percent of workers earning more than $50,000 are satisfied with their jobs, only 14 percent claim they are very satisfied. At the other end of the pay scale (workers earning less than $15,000), about 45 percent of workers are satisfied, but only 17 percent express a strong level of satisfaction.

The survey also finds that employees are least satisfied with their companies' bonus plans, promotion policies, health plans and pensions. The majority are most satisfied with their commutes to work and their relationships with colleagues.

"Less than one-third of all supervisors and managers are perceived to be strong leaders," says Shubhra Ramchandani, North American Stakeholder Management Practice Leader at TNS. "The Enron/Worldcom era of corporate scandals and the outsourcing of jobs have increased the level of employee discontent. Shrugging off employee disengagement would be a disastrous, short-sighted view creating lasting global repercussions for American business."

Job Satisfaction " by Age, Income and Region * The largest decline in overall job satisfaction, from 60.9% to 49.2%, occurred among workers 35-44.

* The second largest decline took place among workers aged 45-54, with the satisfaction level dropping from 57.3% to 47.7%.

* The smallest decline occurred among workers 65 and over. Overall job satisfaction declined from 60.8% to 58.0%, making this group the most satisfied with their jobs.

* The largest decline in job satisfaction took place among householders earning $25,000 to $35,000, with satisfaction falling from 55.7% to 41.4%. This income group expressed the second lowest level of overall satisfaction.

* The second largest decline was posted by householders earning $35,000-$50,000. This group experienced a decline from 59.7% to 46.7%.

* With less than 47% of householders claiming to be satisfied with their current job, workers in the Middle Atlantic and Mountain states are the least satisfied workers in the U.S.

* The East South Central region has the most content workers. Close to 59% of residents in these states claim they are satisfied with their jobs.

* Company promotion policies and bonus plans tended to be the lowest on the satisfaction scale.

* Educational and job training programs did not fare well either. Only 30% of workers claimed to be satisfied with these types of company programs.

* Workers also rated their wages poorly, with only 33.5% of householders expressing satisfaction with their pay.

Additional results from the supplemental survey conducted by TNS in August 2004 include:

* 40% of workers feel disconnected from their employers.

* Two out of every three workers do not identify with or feel motivated to drive their employer's business goals and objectives.

* 25% of employees are just "showing up to collect a paycheck."

The Conference Board is launching a Working Group on Employee Engagement and Commitment on March 1, 2005. According to Conference Board research, employees in the U.S. feel dissatisfied and disconnected from their employers at an alarmingly high rate. Yet companies need to ensure they have a stable, engaged workforce poised to take them into the next decade. The working group provides executives with a forum to discuss issues with their peers and learn from experts about how to keep their workforces engaged and motivated. Working group participants will be able to survey a portion of their workforce and will receive a customized report benchmarking their companies' employee engagement results against the national labor market. At the kickoff meeting on March 1 in New York City, working group members will learn about the survey methodology and participate in customizing the survey.

ABOUT THE CONFERENCE BOARDThe Conference Board creates and disseminates knowledge about management and the marketplace to help businesses strengthen their performance and better serve society. Working as a global independent membership organization in the public interest, The Conference Board conducts conferences, makes forecasts and assesses trends, publishes information and analysis, and brings executives together to learn from one another. The Conference Board is a not-for-profit organization and holds 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status in the United States. Visit The Conference Board's website " http://www.conference-board.org


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