Workers not Just Happy to Have a Job

August 27, 2009 ( - The third annual Labor Happiness Index finds that more than half (58%) of workers say they are happy on the job.

That is 7% fewer than the number who reported being happy on the job in 2008. However, according to a press release, in a climate that has seen 6.7 million U.S. workers lose their jobs, only one in four (24%) said their happiness is based on the fact they are employed, while 41% indicated they are happy that their jobs give them personal satisfaction or suit their lifestyle.

The survey found that women (64%) are among the happiest in the workplace, as are workers between 34-54 years of age (64%), those over 55 (70%), and those who are married (62%). Among the least happy are workers 18-34 years old (47%) and those who are not married (51%), the press release said.

Income level isn’t necessarily linked with overall job satisfaction, as 59% earning less than $25,000 per year say they are happy with their job – nearly as many as those earning at least $50,000 (62%). Almost two-thirds (65%) of respondents with a college degree expressed happiness with their work, compared to 54% of those with a high school education or less.

In another indication that workers are happy, 77% of those surveyed indicated they have no plans to look for a new job now or in the near future, and almost three in four (73%) said they are not proactively thinking of changing their job. The survey suggests married workers are even more likely than those who are unmarried to stay put for the time being (79% vs. 61%).

Of only 18% of respondents who switched jobs last year, one-third (33%) said they chose to do so proactively because they were looking for a new opportunity, and 25% reported they did so because they had been laid off or dismissed from their previous job.

Not surprisingly, the survey found happiness on the job has a link to employment security. Most of those surveyed (52%) report a decline in job security, and of those, only half (49%) expressed happiness with their jobs. Conversely, seven in 10 (70%) of those who think their jobs are secure say they are happy at work.

When asked what most concerns them in the long-term future, two in five (41%) respondents expressed concern over saving for retirement, their child's education or other large, future expenses. Other financial concerns cited include worrying about how their family will be cared for (19%), paying bills (14%), their health (12%), losing their job (7%), or a lack of job mobility (4%).

Mirroring last year's findings, according to a press release, the economy still is considered by most (56%) to be the number one issue facing America today, followed by health care (15%), immigration (6%), the war (6%), the environment (5%), terrorism (5%), and the housing market (3%).

Most survey respondents (56%) believe that the economic climate has stabilized but not yet begun to improve, but more than a third of workers (36%) fear that the worst is yet to come. Only 4% think the economy has turned the corner.

The survey was conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs among more than 1,000 salaried and hourly employees across the U.S.