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Now, Americans Are More Satisfied with Their Employers and Jobs

Now, Americans Are More Satisfied with Their Employers and Jobs

Start a business administration degree at American Public University.

By Dr. Marie Gould Harper
Program Director, Management at American Public University

With all of the information circulating about the workplace and organizational culture, there is some good news.

Fifty-one percent of American workers are satisfied or somewhat satisfied with their jobs. That’s the highest level of satisfaction in more than a decade, according to a new survey from global think tank and business membership association The Conference Board. The Conference Board survey also predicts that satisfaction is likely to stay high through 2030, thanks to a tight labor market — lower layoff rates, high employment and rising wages.

The Conference Board surveyed approximately 1,600 workers in the United States in November 2016. When survey participants were asked about various aspects of their jobs, they indicated they were mostly satisfied with their colleagues, commutes and job tasks. However, some participants were frustrated with companies’ promotion policies, bonus plans, training opportunities and performance review processes.

Not everyone agrees with why the satisfaction rate has gone up. An alternative viewpoint is that people have resigned themselves to job unhappiness with the mentality of that “it is what it is.” So they settle for their current work situations.

Are American Workers Settling for Less in Order to Keep Their Jobs?

According to Fox News journalist Lauren Webber, “Americans are happier at work, but they might just be settling for less.” Americans are confident about spending and their lives, but those feelings may not be due to cozy feelings about their job situations.

Webber says that “U.S. workers have changing views of what makes a job good, and a decade of bruising job cuts, minimal raises and lean staffing has led them to lower their expectations, economists and labor-market experts say.”

Other Reasons Why Workers Seem More Content with Their Jobs

Although I see the rationale of what Webber advocates, I believe there are a couple of other factors regarding why workers are more satisfied with their jobs. Those factors include:

  • People realize that a job does not define them. In addition to some workers just going with the flow at work, we also see a surge in the gig economy. Some of the top talents have elected to break away from the corporate world and go solo, marketing their own brand. Although they might not have the consistency of a regular position, the Great Recession has taught many of us that nothing is permanent.

Peter Capelli, a professor of management at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, notes that “American workers remain scarred by the Great Recession, which reset expectations for a whole generation.” There is a season for every situation.

McKee suggests that workers should develop their emotional intelligence to better identify the thoughts and actions that aren’t serving them. In other words, Dr. McKee encourages us to break from the “ambition trap” to have peace of mind and contentment with life.

Overall, people should focus on what is important to them. Each of us only has one life and it is not a dry run.

Let’s make the most of our lives by participating in those activities that bring us satisfaction and contentment. While the definition of those two words means different things to different people, what’s important is that you find your own “happy spot.”

Start a business administration degree at American Public University.

About the Author

Dr. Marie Gould Harper is the Program Director of Management at American Public University. She holds an undergraduate degree in psychology from Wellesley College, a master’s degree in instructional systems from Pennsylvania State University and a doctorate in business from Capella University. She is a progressive coach, facilitator, writer, strategist and human resources/organizational development professional with more than 30 years of leadership, project management, and administrative experience. Dr. Gould Harper has worked in both corporate and academic environments.

Dr. Gould Harper is an innovative thinker and strong leader, manifesting people skills, a methodical approach to problems, organizational vision and ability to inspire followers. She is committed to continuous improvement in organizational effectiveness and human capital development, customer service and the development of future leaders.