U.S. Workers “Less Miserable” But Still Not Happy, Conference Board Reports
Based on a Fall 2011 survey of 5,000 U.S. households conducted for The Conference Board by The Nielsen Company, the study finds 47.2 percent of Americans are satisfied with their jobs; 2005 was the last year in which a majority of Americans was happy at work (52.1 percent), the report says.
Though the overall numbers remain negative, there are many key upward trends such as higher satisfaction with job security, wages, promotion policy, educational/job training, and bonus plan, The Conference Board says. Employees are reporting higher interest in their jobs, relationships with fellow employees, and the level of recognition and acknowledgment from supervisors.
Younger workers are found to have more positive job satisfaction than older workers; the study finds that the largest decline in overall job satisfaction in the past 25 years has been among those 65 and over, whose job satisfaction rate was 46.1 percent in 2011, down from 70.8 percent in 1987. Job satisfaction was highest among mature workers in 1987; this has reversed in the 2011 survey. Among younger workers (those aged 25 and under) 50.1 percent said they were satisfied with their jobs, up from 37 percent in 2010. And 50.1 percent of those aged 25 to 34 were satisfied with their jobs, up nearly 5 percentage points from the prior year.
Workers have a mixed reaction to economic elements of their jobs, the study finds. On the positive side, workers indicated their job security, wages, promotion policy, bonus plans, vacation policy, sick leave, health plans, pension/retirement, flex time, family leave, and education/job training were better in 2011 than in 2010. However, workers have become increasingly dissatisfied with their healthcare plans since 1987. Only 40 percent of employees are satisfied with their current health plan, down from 50 percent in 1987.