18 Jun. 2014 | Comments (0)

The annual, 2014 survey of Job Satisfaction was released last week by The Conference Board. This report was also recently featured in a Wall Street Journal article by Lauren Weber. A survey of 5,000 households conducted by The Nielsen Company in the fall of 2013 indicates that 47.7 percent of currently employed Americans are satisfied with their position—a slight improvement (0.4 percentage points) from 2012 to 2013.

In this blog, I would like to highlight some of the key findings:

  • Employees are most satisfied with job components related to people and the work environment. These factors include their colleagues, interest in work, commute to work, physical environment, and supervisor. On the other hand, they are less satisfied with their promotion policy, bonus plan, training programs, performance review, and recognition (See Chart 1 below).

  • The most important drivers of job satisfaction are growth potential, communication channels, interest in work, recognition, and workload. The results also show that satisfaction with one’s supervisor was also rated quite high, which is consistent with research in the employee engagement field that highlights the importance of managers. On the other hand, respondents consider commute to work, health plan, retirement plan, sick day policy, and vacation policy less important (See Chart 2 below).

  • Employers would be wise to concentrate on those components considered highly important with low current levels of satisfaction. These include growth potential, communication channels, recognition, performance review, and wages. 

  • When we separate the rankings for men and women, the top determinants are quite similar. However, promotion policy, interest in work, and bonus plan are more important for men than for women, while workload, satisfaction with people at work, and flex time are more important for women than for men. Also worth noting is that women are significantly less satisfied than men with their bonus plan and promotion policy.

Chart 1 - Post-recession satisfaction with specific job components (Click to expand)

Source: The Conference Board

Chart 2 - Adjusted Correlation of Determination (R²) In Predicting Job Satisfaction, By Explanatory Variable (Click to expand)

Source: The Conference Board


View our complete listing of Employee Engagement and Labor Markets blogs.

  • About the Author: Gad Levanon, Ph.D.

    Gad Levanon, Ph.D.

    Gad Levanon serves as chief economist, North America at The Conference Board. He oversees the labor market program, the U.S forecasting program, and the Help Wanted OnLine© program. Le…

    Full Bio | More from Gad Levanon, Ph.D.


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