Most Working Americans Satisfied with Jobs
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Most Working Americans Satisfied with Jobs

Most working adults in the United States tell Gallup they are satisfied with the job they do for a living. But there is a significant difference between those who love their jobs and those who merely like them, according to a recent Gallup survey.

Paul Holmes

Most working adults in the United States tell Gallup they are satisfied with the job they do for a living. But there is a significant difference between those who love their jobs and those who merely like them, according to a recent Gallup survey.

The firm’s annual Work and Education Poll, found that about three in five employed adults in the United States like their jobs; but, a fortunate one-third of workers love their occupations. Only 9 percent of working adults dislike or hate their jobs.

The overall percentage of workers who love or like their jobs (91 percent) is similar to the overall percentage of people who, in answer to a separate question, say they are satisfied with their jobs (86 percent). Specifically, 42 percent are “completely” satisfied and 44 percent are “somewhat” satisfied.

Interestingly, those working for the government, a non-profit organization, or those who are self-employed are much more likely than those working in private industries to say they love their jobs. Survey data probing employee satisfaction show that government, non-profit, and self-employed workers are more satisfied with their job security and workload than are those employed by companies in the private sector.

The Gallup Poll also shows that higher levels of education and income correspond with a higher percentage of workers saying they love their jobs. The percentage of college graduates who love their jobs is 41 percent, compared with 31 percent of those with only some college education and 21 percent of those with no college education. Similarly, 39 percent of workers living in households making at least $50,000 say they love their jobs, compared with 22 percent of those living in lower income households.

New to this year’s poll is a follow-up question asking workers to give the reasons why they feel the way they do about their jobs. Among workers who are positive about their jobs, the largest segment (20 percent) s say they enjoy what they do. Others who love or like their job supply more intriguing insights, the two foremost being that they like their coworkers and that they enjoy serving or helping the public (13 percent each).

Those who love their jobs are more likely to say they enjoy working with children (a substantial portion of these workers are teachers and social workers). Those that love their jobs are also more likely to mention they enjoy being their own boss—a reflection of the fact that self-employment is highly correlated with loving one’s job.

Those who merely like their jobs are more likely to say that pay is a factor (although it is still a minor reason), and that they enjoy interacting with or meeting people. There is little distinction between the two groups on the rest of the factors.

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