According to research by The Conference Board, overall job satisfaction remained historically high during 2020, as it inched upward by 0.6% to 56.9%. This was somewhat surprising, considering the economic crisis and mass layoffs of the pandemic. In comparison, the recession of 2008-2010 resulted in a significant decline in job satisfaction. Last year's results stayed strong partly because the overall perception of job security was unchanged by the time November's survey was conducted. In addition, employers devoted more efforts and resources on supporting the well-being of their employees, responding with compassion, flexibility, and support.
Not all the news was good. The job satisfaction determinants linked to labor market conditions declined from 2019 to 2020, including wage satisfaction, job prospects, and training opportunities. And even though satisfaction was high in the historical sense, there were still 43% of employees that were not satisfied with their jobs, overall. This was especially true for workers under 35, whose job satisfaction declined by 10%. This was offset by workers over 54, whose job satisfaction improved by over 11%.
Job satisfaction is the extent that employees are satisfied or content with their overall job and the components that help measure it. It is an important indicator of a workforce's attitudes and opinions. While job satisfaction is distinct from employee engagement, job satisfaction is a key component of employee engagement. Engagement is "a heightened emotional and intellectual connection that employees have for their job, organization, manager, or coworkers that, in turn, influences them to apply additional discretionary effort to their work." The percentage of employees reporting engagement in their work also increased during that past year, from 53.2% to 54.3%.
In 2021 and beyond, The Conference Board expects job satisfaction to continue to improve, "mostly because of the expected significant recovery in economic conditions." Other reasons for their optimism include the expected return to low unemployment and the growing retirement of boomers. "In fact, for the first time in US history, the working-age population is shrinking." Finally, there appears to be a trend among boards and senior management for perceiving workers as important stakeholders in company success. Their increasing support of their workers' well-being continues to support job satisfaction.
Job satisfaction is the highest it has been in 20 years. Three reasons are cited for this: (1) labor market conditions like job security, wages, and retirement benefits have made the greatest gains; (2) a growing number of workers voluntarily quit their jobs, mostly for more fulfilling jobs; and (3) a strong increase in the share of US jobs in professional occupations, where job satisfaction tends to be higher. How is job satisfaction in your organization? Have you proactively measured it?
--Executive summary by David Snook of WCI. Contact him if you'd like help measuring your employees' job satisfaction, using a pulse survey. Click here for the full Conference Board report.
Tags: Employers' Blog Posts