Job Satisfaction in U.S. at Lowest Levels in Two Decades
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Job Satisfaction in U.S. at Lowest Levels in Two Decades

Job satisfaction among employees in the U.S. is at the lowest level in two decades, according to a report released by The Conference Board. Americans of all ages and income brackets continue to grow increasingly unhappy at work, according to the report.

Paul Holmes

Job satisfaction among employees in the U.S. is at the lowest level in two decades, according to a report released by The Conference Board. Americans of all ages and income brackets continue to grow increasingly unhappy at work, according to the report, based on a survey of 5,000 U.S. households conducted for The Conference Board by TNS. Only 45 percent of those surveyed say they are satisfied with their jobs, down from 61.1 percent in 1987, the first year in which the survey was conducted.

 

"While one in 10 Americans is now unemployed, their working compatriots of all ages and incomes continue to grow increasingly unhappy," says Lynn Franco, director of the consumer research center of The Conference Board. "Through both economic boom and bust during the past two decades, our job satisfaction numbers have shown a consistent downward trend."

 

Fewer Americans are satisfied with all aspects of their employment, and no age or income group is immune. In fact, the youngest cohort of employees (those currently under age 25) expresses the highest level of dissatisfaction ever recorded by the survey for that age group.

 

"The downward trend in job satisfaction could spell trouble for the overall engagement of U.S. employees and ultimately employee productivity," adds Franco.

 

"These numbers do not bode well given the multi-generational dynamics of the labor force," adds Linda Barrington, managing director, human capital, The Conference Board. "The newest federal statistics show that baby boomers will compose a quarter of the U.S. workforce in eight years, and since 1987 we’ve watched them increasingly losing faith in the workplace."

 

The drop in job satisfaction between 1987 and 2009 covers all categories in the survey, from interest in work (down 18.9 percentage points) to job security (down 17.5 percentage points) and crosses all four of the key drivers of employee engagement: job design, organizational health, managerial quality, and extrinsic rewards.



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