Job Security and Benefits Top Contributors to Job Satisfaction

June 29, 2010 ( - For the fourth year in a row, employees ranked job security and benefits as the top two “very important” contributors to job satisfaction, according to the 2010 Employee Job Satisfaction survey report released June 27 by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

According to the report, compensation/pay, a factor that has appeared on employees’ top five list each year since the survey’s inception, fell to fifth place for the first time.  

An SHRM news report said when it comes to benefits, health care reigns supreme, according to employees and HR professionals, though paid time off was a close second. However, even though 65% of employees said such benefits were “very important,” just 38% said they were “very satisfied” with the health care/medical benefits provided by their employer. By comparison, 54% of employees said they were very satisfied with paid time off benefits. 

“The work itself” tied for fourth place on the employee list in 2010, with 54% of respondents noting its importance—the largest percentage to date. Just 40% of employers selected this factor as very important, however, ranking it 13th on the list of 25 factors covered by the report.  

HR professionals agreed on the importance of job security, ranking it second. However, for the last seven out of eight job satisfaction surveys fielded by SHRM, HR professionals have viewed an employee’s relationship with his or her immediate supervisor as the top contributor to employee satisfaction, selected by 72% of respondents for 2010, according to the news report. By comparison, less than half (48%) of employee respondents felt that such a relationship was very important, ranking it seventh.  

Compensation dropped out of HR professionals’ top five list for the first time in 2009 and now appears ninth on the list of most important contributors to job satisfaction.  

Employees and HR professionals agree on certain factors, SHRM said. For example, “opportunity to use skills/abilities” has appeared in the top five for employees and HR professionals for the last three years, though employees bumped the factor up from fourth place to third in 2010, while HR professionals nudged it down from fourth place to fifth.  

A new contributor to job satisfaction that respondents could select from in 2010 – the organization’s financial stability –  immediately found a place among the top five job satisfaction factors, placing fourth for both employees and HR professionals.  

For the first time since the survey was first fielded in 2002, benefits slipped slightly on HR professionals’ list, falling to seventh place even though the same percentage – 60% – of HR professionals and employees agreed that benefits are “very important.”