U.S. Employees Are The Most Satisfied They Have Been in 10 Years

…but it is still below 50%.

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article about
the new report from the Conference Board detailing satisfaction ratings among
U.S. workers.

The Conference Board, a research group that focuses on economics
and business conditions, unveiled that 49.6% of workers reported being
satisfied with their jobs overall last year, which is up from 48.3% in 2014.
They attributed the increase to an improving labor market, a decline in
layoffs, stronger wage growth and expanding job opportunities.

Workers are feeling more secure in their positions, and feel
more likely to find jobs they enjoy. Just over half of people said they are
satisfied with their job security and 58.8% reported a high level of interest
in their work. The highest rating came in at 58.9%, which is the percentage of
workers that were happy with their co-workers. Satisfaction was highest in
Texas (56.1%), and was generally higher in the Western half of the country.
Additionally, it seems that money can buy happiness; 61.2% of people earning
$125,000 or more report feeling satisfied at work, the highest proportion.

But, while half of the country is satisfied, it’s important
to consider the other half that is not. The 1,565 respondents were least
content with their company’s promotion policy, followed by bonus plan,
performance-review process, educational and job training programs, and
recognition for their work.

While employee satisfaction and employee engagement are two
separate ideas, some companies are changing how they engage their workforce in
order to keep them happy. Recently, JP Morgan Chase and Starbucks announced
raises for hourly workers, indicating a recognition that they must compete
aggressively for employees who have more opportunities to go elsewhere.  General Electric Co. and Deloitte are
overhauling the way they assess employee performance, but so far most programs
are still in the testing phase.

Although the last few years have shown steady improvement,
it seems unlikely that workforce satisfaction will reach the highs achieved in
the late 1980s and early 1990s. The Conference Board stresses that those times
were significantly different than they are now, specifically mentioning that
loyalty was much higher then than it is now.

This report provides companies an opportunity and the push
they may need to make internal adjustments for the sake of their employees’
happiness. Recognizing that happy employees correlate with organizational
success is a crucial step in working towards increasing that satisfaction
percentage.

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