Poll: Job Satisfaction Climbs to Highest Level in Over Two Decades

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As Americans head into Labor Day weekend, a nationwide survey reveals they’re feeling better about their jobs than they have in years. Conducted by The Conference Board (a member-driven think tank that delivers trusted insights for what’s ahead), the survey shows that about 54 percent of U.S. workers are satisfied with their employment. Satisfaction climbed by almost three percent from the prior year, which marks a near-record increase in the survey’s history. Workers also report being much more at ease about their job security. And Millennials have experienced a surge in confidence regarding their wages.

The results, however, include some cautionary signs for management. Amid a strong jobs market where individuals can more easily find new work, survey participants gave weak marks to the most important driver of job satisfaction: their current job’s potential for future growth. In addition, over 60 percent feel dissatisfied with their organization’s recognition practices, performance review process, and communication channels. Also noteworthy, men generally feel better than women about multiple financial components of their work, including wages and bonus plans.

The survey gauged the job satisfaction of approximately 2,000 workers throughout the U.S. Collectively, they represent a snapshot of the nation’s work force. Highlights include:

Almost 54 percent of U.S. employees feel satisfied with their jobs. Overall job satisfaction rose to approximately 54 percent from 51 percent in the prior year. This marks the second biggest increase in the survey’s 32-year history. An improved labor market has played the main role in boosting job satisfaction, which has risen in each of the past eight years.
Job security soars. Survey participants ranked 23 components influencing satisfaction. Job security saw the biggest improvement, climbing by 5 percent from the prior year.
Wage satisfaction surges among Millennials. Satisfaction regarding wages rose a staggering 9.8 percent among those aged 35 and under. However, workers in their peak earning years—those between 33 and 54—remain most satisfied.
Highest satisfaction with job aspects chosen by the employee. Workers are most pleased with their commute to work, followed by the people at work, interest in work, physical environment, job security, and supervisor.
Lowest satisfaction with a job’s economic aspects. Workers are least satisfied with their bonus plan, followed by promotion policy, performance review process, educational/job training programs, recognition/acknowledgement, and communication channels.

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