According to a recent Conference Board survey, job satisfaction of American workers has dropped to a new low of 45% satisfaction rate. The highest job satisfaction peak of 61.1% occurred in 1987, declined to a low of 45.3% in 2009. The research group has studied this issue for more than 22 years. In 2008, 49 percent of those surveyed reported satisfaction with their jobs.
The drop in workers’ happiness can be partly blamed on the worst recession since the 1930s, which made it difficult for some people to find challenging and suitable jobs. But worker dissatisfaction has been on the rise for more than two decades.
“It says something troubling about work in America. It is not about the business cycle or one grumpy generation,” says Linda Barrington, managing director of human capital at the Conference Board, who helped write the report, which was released Tuesday.
Workers have grown steadily more unhappy for a variety of reasons:
Fewer workers consider their jobs to be interesting
Incomes have not kept up with inflation.
The soaring cost of health insurance has eaten into workers’ take-home pay.
If the job satisfaction trend is not reversed, economists say, it could stifle innovation and hurt America’s competitiveness and productivity. And it could make unhappy older workers less inclined to take the time to share their knowledge and skills with younger workers.