Eighty-one percent of U.S. employees report feeling overall satisfied in regards to their current positions, according to the 2012 Job Satisfaction and Engagement Research Report by the Society for Human Resource Management.
Despite this, fewer than four out of 10 employees say they are very satisfied when it comes to the elements that have the greatest impact on how they feel about work. This includes opportunities to use skills and abilities, job security, compensation and pay, communication with senior management and relationship with immediate supervisor.
During this survey’s 10-year history, employees’ workplace satisfaction has moved up and down. Although satisfaction has dropped since its record high at 86 percent in 2009, it is still four percentage points above its low of 77 percent in 2002.
“Economic, demographic and social trends are among the factors that influence job satisfaction,” says Mark Schmit, SHRM’s vice president for research. “Satisfaction peaked in 2009 when employees were just glad to have a job. Now we are seeing it trend down some, which may be an indication that employees are starting to look at other opportunities again as the job market is starting to turn a bit more positive. Proactive employers will monitor job satisfaction and introduce change to retain top talent ahead of the trend.”
This year the chance to use skills and abilities jumped job security, taking the No. 1 spot of influencers of job satisfaction. This offers an opportunity for employers facing skills gaps, Schmit says, because training and promoting current employees opens positions that are easier to fill and require lower-level skills.
According to more than seven out of 10 respondents, they are satisfied with their relationships with co-workers, opportunities to use their skills, the contribution of their work to business goals and their relationships with their immediate supervisors. Still, fewer than 50 percent of respondents say they are happy with their career development.
The survey also reveals that 71 percent of respondents say they often believe they are putting all their effort into work projects, and only 41 percent of respondents agree that their co-workers volunteer for new projects. Among the respondents, the older age group was the only set to say their relationships with their immediate supervisors are the primary engagement factor.