Employee Satisfaction: Underlying Issues in the Workplace

Summary
Studies have previously shown that most adults who hold a paying job are generally satisfied with their jobs, but the numbers dip with specific factors like flexibility, recognition of their efforts and opportunities for growth. This survey showed that 69 percent are satisfied with their jobs but less than half feel that their efforts are recognized, and only 35 percent feel they are given opportunities to grow at work. It was also seen that 36 percent feel stressed and 49 percent feel stressed due to low salary. Only 52 percent feel they are valued at work by their employers.

Introduction
While many people hold meaningful employment, a large number are dissatisfied with their work and workplace for certain specific reasons. Some feel dissatisfied with their job and the opportunities offered by it. It is also often perceived that many feel stressed in their work environment and feel that their efforts are not recognized. This survey was conducted online among the American workforce to assess what percentage of workers are happy with their employment and the actual reasons that lead to dissatisfaction among workers. This study also examined the factors that lead to stress among the workforce and the effects of pay on stress related to jobs.

Methodology
* The study was called the “Stress in the Workplace” survey. It was an online survey that took place from January 31 to February 8, 2011.
* The number of interviewed subjects was 1,546 adults who held full- or part-time jobs or were self employed.
* The participants were asked about their age, gender, nature of work, education and income, and their job satisfaction profile.

Results
* The results showed that 69 percent of the interviewed subjects were generally happy with their jobs. Of these, 46 percent were happy with the recognition they got at their workplace and 35 percent felt they were offered opportunities at work for advancement.
* About 36 percent of the subjects reported stress at work and 49 percent blamed their insufficient salary as the reason for their stress. Among the participants, 20 percent reported very high levels of stress at work.
* As many as 43 percent felt they were not given enough opportunities for advancement, 43 percent complained of a heavy work burden, 40 percent reported unrealistic expectations at work and 39 percent reported extra hours at work contributing to stress. Some 32 percent said they wanted to change jobs. As many as 64 percent reported salary cuts during the recession.
* Only 52 percent reported that they felt valued by their employers and 66 percent felt they were given the motivation to put in their best.

Shortcomings
The researchers agree that since the participants were selected based on an online invitation, the sample of workers may not be representative of the actual workforce and its problems.

Conclusion
This study showed that although more than two thirds of the workforce said they were satisfied with their employment, many reported underlying problems. Less than half of all working people feel they are given due recognition and only one third feel they are offered opportunities. Work-related stress is another major complaint, with many participants citing various reasons for stress. After the recession, many workers reported increased stress due to cutbacks and layoffs. This study also found that nearly a third feel they would look for a job change within the next year. These alarming trends reflect dissatisfaction among the workforce and need to be addressed for overall happiness.

For More Information:
Stress in the Workplace
American Psychological Association, March 2011
By Harris Interactive

*FYI Living Lab Reports Are Summaries of the Original Research.
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