Job Satisfaction Research

Mary Gormandy White
Employee Satisfaction Survey

Are you looking for job satisfaction research? Whether you're an employer wondering how to gauge how your company compares to others or if you are an employee who is curious about public sentiment regarding job satisfaction, you can find out what you need to know by reviewing published results of job satisfaction surveys that are made available to the public. It's important to note, however, that public opinion about job satisfaction changes over time - especially as economic conditions change - and can vary greatly among companies and industries as well as from one socioeconomic group to another.

Reviewing Job Satisfaction Studies

If you want to get a general sense of job satisfaction, it can be beneficial to review the results of nationwide surveys conducted by reputable research organizations. Reviewing such information can help you get a sense of general attitudes toward work among the population as a whole, or even specific to certain industries or demographic population segments.

General Trends in Recent Research

According to data gathered in 2011 as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well Being Index, 87.5 percent of the American workforce reported feeling satisfied with their jobs. While this percentage is high, it is lower than it was before the economic crisis hit in 2008. The most significant decreases from 2008 to 2011 registered with the Hispanic population and workers with the least formal education. Overall, the study indicated that the groups with the lowest levels of job satisfaction were African Americans and individuals holding positions that pay the lowest wages.

The data revealed by the 2011 Gallup-Healthways survey are in many ways similar to the results of the 2010 Employee Job Satisfaction Survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management. This study indicated an overall job satisfaction rate of 84 percent, with only 30 percent of employed individuals reporting that they planned to look outside of their current companies for work in the near future. Of course, there's no way to be sure if workers' intentions to stay with their companies reflect high satisfaction or hesitancy to attempt to leave due to current economic conditions.

Variations Among Industries and Organizations

Satisfaction ratings, of course, vary greatly from one industry to another, as well as among organizations. For example, ComputerWorld magazine reported that a 2010 study by the Corporate Executive Board indicated that worker satisfaction in the information technology (IT) field hit an all-time low that year. This study featured results from multiple Fortune 500 companies. While this study may show a general trend, it doesn't necessarily apply to those who work in IT for smaller companies or indicate that every IT worker with a large company is unhappy. Such results are also not generalizable to other industries, as the factors that impact how IT workers feel about their jobs may not be common to other segments of the workforce.

Conducting Your Own Job Satisfaction Research

Because it can be so difficult to generalize from published survey results to your own company, gathering your own data can be quite beneficial. If you want to find out how the members of your company's workforce feel about their jobs, you can conduct an internal employee satisfaction survey.

Satisfaction Survey Documents

It's important to be aware that creating a valid survey is something that requires specific expertise. You can't just ask employees to tell you whether or not they like their jobs or the company if you want to get a true sense of the level of satisfaction among the members of your workforce. Instead, you'll need to use a survey tool specifically designed to measure job satisfaction to collect data.

Professional Research Services

You may find it beneficial to utilize the services of a professional research company with expertise specific to job satisfaction research to handle creating a survey and/or interpreting the data for you. This is particularly true if you don't have someone in your human resources department with expertise specific to developing and validating these types of questionnaires or conducting in-depth statistical data analysis. Examples of companies that provide this type of service include the National Business Research Institute (NBRI), Custom Insight and Kenexa.

What to Do with the Results

Reviewing and conducting this type of research can provide valuable insights into how the members of your workforce feel about their jobs. What matters, however, is not that you have the information; it's what you do with it. If your company or industry is facing satisfaction challenges, put plans in place to turn things around. Create strategies and implement programs to improve statistics within your own firm. If you have positive results, don't assume that things will always be that way. Take steps to let your workers know they are appreciated and focus on keeping satisfaction high as you move forward.

Job Satisfaction Research