Workers are frustrated with their jobs

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010 By

New survey shows dissatisfaction with employment

A new survey done by the Conference Board showed that job satisfaction is at an all-time low of about 45%. That is the total amount of employees who are content with their current situations. Part of the problem is the economy. When the recession began back in 2008, companies cut workers. That loss of a workforce caused existing workers to have to pick up the slack. They were called upon to take on bigger responsibilities, bigger projects, more worry, but without any more pay. The added strain brought workers to a new place of unease when comes to their jobs.

The history of job satisfaction

Job satisfaction has been declining for some time now. In fact, since 1987, the trend to be unsatisfied with employment has risen consistently. Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board, said, “What we have seen over the last 22 years is that irrespective of whether the economy is boom or bust, the overall level of satisfaction expressed by US workers has been steadily declining across every single aspect of the job.” Those aspects include pay, benefits, job security, promotional possibilities, bonuses, workloads, communication, and future growth.

A major contributor to the feeling of displeasure is the feeling that workers cannot get ahead. Financially, it has become increasingly difficult for people to overcome high expenses. According to the 2009 Kaiser Family Foundation report, the average worker contributes $779 for single workers and $3,515 for family coverage. The prices of food, shelter and household items has also increased. In contrast, pay has stayed the same. Franco said, “The shifting of health-care costs from employer to employee and the fact that wages have not been growing all that rapidly means purchasing power is diminished.”

People respond by taking higher-paying jobs

To make it through the difficult economy, many workers are taking higher-paying jobs that are less rewarding. Robert Frank, author of “Falling Behind: How Rising Inequality Harms the Middle Class”, said, “If people are feeling more economic pressure, they are more willing to sacrifice other dimensions of job satisfaction in order to get more money.” It has long been a standard goal of Americans to earn as much money as possible, but to still maintain job satisfaction. Studies are showing that as the economy struggles, more people are willing to forgo satisfaction for the sake of making ends meet.

Satisfaction denied means lag in productivity

Some experts suggest that discontent is a very difficult result of taking any job. Although people believe that money is a panacea, studies have shown that it isn’t. In fact, once you have a pool of people doing jobs that they don’t necessarily like, it creates a team of people who are much less productive. Ideally, employers should be looking for workers who are engaged in their jobs and the business. Without that connection, jobs suffer. Adam Grant, a management professor of at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, said, “There has to be a connection to a real outcome for the end users – clients, customers, patients, etc. As the world globalizes and companies begin to do more outsourcing and more international work, they are using more 24-hour communication and technology to make it easier to get jobs done without a face-to-face connection with the people benefiting from the work you do.” That can seriously cut back the amount of job satisfaction workers experience.

Overall it is a good market to find a job

Overall, it is a good market to find a job in, but at what price? The economy is showing signs of a turnaround and most likely will return to its healthy state by mid-2010. That change should encourage people at their jobs to look forward to a time when their employers can return to old practices. The workers will be in line for their standard annual raises, 401k contributions will resume and benefits will no longer be on hold.

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