Poll Finds Growing Job Unhappiness

February 28, 2005 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - There are plenty of long faces in the US workplace these days.

A news release from The Conference Boardreported that, according to a new study, half of all Americans like their current work situation – down significantly from the 60% seen 10 years ago. Even among the 50% who pronounced themselves satisfied, a scant 14% said they were “very satisfied.” The decline in job satisfaction is widespread among workers of all ages and across all income brackets, the poll found.

In fact, about a quarter of US workers admit they trek to their offices just to they’ll get a check on payday, The Conference Board said.

“Rapid technological changes, rising productivity demands and changing employee expectations have all contributed to the decline in job satisfaction,” said Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board’s Consumer Research Center. “As large numbers of baby boomers prepare to leave the workforce, they will be increasingly replaced by younger workers, who tend to be as dissatisfied with their jobs, but have different attitudes and expectations about the role of work in their lives. This transition will present a new challenge for employers.”

According to the survey data, the job satisfaction decline ran across all income brackets in the last nine years. At the low end of the pay scale (workers earning less than $15,000), about 45% of workers are satisfied, but only 17% express a strong level of satisfaction. The survey also finds that employees are least satisfied with their companies’ bonus plans, promotion policies, health plans and pensions. The majority are most satisfied with their commutes to work and their relationships with colleagues.

The largest decline in overall job satisfaction, from 60.9% to 49.2%, occurred among workers 35 to 44. The second biggest drop was among workers aged 45 to 54, with the satisfaction level going down from 57.3% to 47.7%. The smallest decline occurred among workers 65 and over. Overall job satisfaction declined from 60.8% to 58%, making this group the most satisfied with their jobs.

The largest decline in job satisfaction took place among householders earning $25,000 to $35,000, with satisfaction falling from 55.7% to 41.4%. This income group expressed the second lowest level of overall satisfaction.The second largest decline was posted by householders earning $35,000-$50,000. This group experienced a decline from 59.7% to 46.7%.

This report, which is based on a representative sample of 5,000 US households, conducted for The Conference Board by TNS, also includes information collected independently by TNS.