Job Satisfaction At Record Low

Compiled By CityTownInfo.com Staff
January 8, 2010

Results of a survey released this week indicate that less than half of workers are satisfied with their jobs--the lowest level in two decades.

The report, titled "I Can't Get No . . . Job Satisfaction, That Is," was based on a survey conducted by the Conference Board of 5,000 American households. Only 45 percent of respondents reported being satisfied with their jobs, down from 61.1 percent in 1987, the first year the survey was conducted.

Results of the survey, say many, are not surprising during these trying economic times. "What we've gone through the last 12 to 18 months, a lot of these companies have had to take pretty dramatic steps to remain viable in the industry, not because they wanted to, but because they are forced to," explained Jason Lawrenson of Management Recruiters in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, who was quoted by Keloland TV. He noted that many companies cut or eliminated healthcare and retirement benefits, did away with bonuses and froze wages--all of which undoubtedly lessened workers' job satisfaction.

The Washington Post reports that according to Lynn Franco, a co-author of the report, when respondents were asked to name the most enjoyable part of their jobs, enjoying the company of co-workers rated first, followed by the commute.

"If the commute is one of the best aspects of your job," Franco noted, "that really illustrates how much dissatisfaction there is."

Jacqueline Rosa, 26, who was interviewed by the New York Daily News, would probably agree. "I have to say that 90 percent of us are doing something that wasn't their first choice," she said. "Hopefully I'll find something else someday."

But The Washington Post pointed out that the Conference Board survey is not necessarily conclusive. Gallup polls taken every summer from 1989 to 2009 found that 85 to 94 percent of workers were either completely or somewhat satisfied with their jobs. And the General Social Survey conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago between 1972 and 2008 indicated that about 85 percent of respondents were very or moderately happy.

According to Tom W. Smith, head of the polling center at the University of Chicago, job satisfaction is influenced by age and types of profession. He explained to the Post that some of the most satisfied employees include firefighters, clergy and physical therapists, because they have professions which involve caring for and helping others. In general, said Smith, people in low skill jobs which involve customer service and serving food are the most dissatisfied with their professions.

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