Majority of U.S. employees satisfied, survey finds

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A survey released earlier this week by the Society for Human Resource Management says that 81 percent of U.S. employees are satisfied overall with their current job. Fewer than four out of 10 employees, however, reported being very satisfied with the elements that have the greatest impact on how they feel about work — opportunities to use skills and abilities; job security; compensation and pay; communication with senior management; and relationship with immediate supervisor.

SHRM’s 2012 Job Satisfaction and Engagement Research Report polled 600 randomly selected employees at small to large companies. In the 10 years that SHRM has conducted the annual survey, there have been fluctuations in employees’ overall satisfaction with their current job. Satisfaction has declined slightly since its peak at 86 percent in 2009. Still, it remains four percentage points above its low of 77 percent in 2002.   

SHRM’s vice president for research Mark Schmit said in a statement that economic, demographic and social trends can influence job satisfaction.

“Satisfaction peaked in 2009 when employees were just glad to have a job. Now we are seeing it trend down some, which may be an indication that employees are starting to look at other opportunities again as the job market is starting to turn a bit more positive. Proactive employers will monitor job satisfaction and introduce change to retain top talent ahead of the trend.”

The survey also found:

• On average, employees were only moderately engaged

• More than seven out of 10 employees were satisfied with their relationships with co-workers, opportunities to use their skills, the contribution of their work to the employer’s business goals, and their relationship with their immediate supervisor.

• Less than 50 percent of employees were satisfied with their career development.

• Seventy-one percent of employees frequently felt they were putting all their effort into their work and completely focused on their work projects.

• Only 41 percent felt that people in their organization volunteer for new projects.

• Older respondents were the only age group that placed relationship with their immediate supervisor as the top factor contributing to their engagement.

The Society for Human Resource Management is the world’s largest human resource management association and has 260,000 members in more than 140 countries.

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