Worker satisfaction reaches all-time high

Job switchers much more satisfied than those who stay put, says report

Worker satisfaction reaches all-time high

American workers are more content than ever, according to a recent report.

Overall, 62.3% of U.S. workers were satisfied in 2022, up from 60.2 percent in 2021, reported The Conference Board.

Last year’s number eclipsed the previous high of 61.1% recorded in 1987, when the organization first tallied the data.

Workers’ job satisfaction has also continuously improved from the low of 42.6% in 2010:

  • 46.2% in 2011
  • 47.3% in 2012
  • 47.7% in 2013
  • 48.3% in 2014
  • 49.6% in 2015
  • 50.8% in 2016
  • 51.0% in 2017
  • 53.7% in 2018
  • 56.3% in 2019
  • 56.8% in 2020
  • 60.2% in 2021
  • 62.3% in 2022

"With unemployment at record lows, it's a sellers' market for labor — US workers are reaping the rewards," said Eren Selcuk, senior economist at The Conference Board.

The top predictors of job satisfaction include:

  • The quality of leadership (7.9%)
  • Organizational culture (6.9%)
  • Work/life balance (6.1%)
  • Interest in work (6.0%)
  • Potential for future growth (5.1%)

Here’s how to create a phenomenal employee experience in the modern workplace, according to one expert.

Job switchers

As much as the satisfaction of all workers improved, those who switched jobs since the COVID-19 pandemic started are far more satisfied with different aspects of their employment compared to those who stayed put, according to The Conference Board’s study:

Factors

Job switchers

Workers who stay

Overall job satisfaction

65.7%

62.1%

Educational/job training programs

60.9%

44.5%

Bonus plan

59.2%

43.4%

Mental health benefit

60.2%

46.6%

Promotion policy

55.4%

42.3%

Potential for future growth

62.2%

50.2%

Wages

66.4%

55.6%

Flex-time plan

63.7%

51.7%

Pensions/retirement plan

59.2%

48.0%

Performance review

61.2%

50.5%

 

"Job satisfaction was up across the board in 2022—and especially high for workers who switched jobs,” said Selcuk. “While a mild recession in 2023 is likely to ease labor shortages and reduce labor mobility, the impact on job satisfaction may be brief and minor: Demographic trends suggest tight labor markets are here to stay, putting the onus on employers to compete for talent."

The results of the study also show a path forward for employers, especially as the labor shortage continues, said Allan Schweyer, principal researcher of human capital at The Conference Board.

"With the labor market remaining tight for the foreseeable future, a focus on worker retention is that much more important," he said. "These results reveal that once workers are paid competitively, a strong workplace culture is the most important factor for keeping workers. Leaders gain the most by offering flexible, hybrid work arrangements, and by emphasizing work experience and culture factors such as interesting work, reasonable workloads, and opportunities for career growth."

Overall, 61% of workers are considering leaving their jobs in 2023, according to a previous  LinkedIn report.

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