Survey: Employees Still Satisfied, But Not For Long

Surprisingly, the full-time employees surveyed this spring by Sibson Consulting are about as satisfied with their jobs as those surveyed three years ago, before the 2000 stock market crash. But, don't get too comfortable, the survey also warns. Researchers report that as the economy recovers, turnover will increase. The Sibson Rewards of Work study says that 81% of those surveyed are satisfied with their jobs, a claim by 79% in 2000 (the researchers point out that the difference is too small to be considered a change). The report is written by Gerry Ledford and Matt Lucy, a senior vice president and consultant, respectively, with Sibson. Sibson is a division of The Segal Co., Los Angeles. Sub-measures in the survey that did not change significantly were trust in management, organization commitment, satisfaction with employee-value proposition, pay-level satisfaction, supervisor satisfaction and effectiveness in the performance of management. Even job security held steady. A sub-measure that did decline was quality of benefits, which the researchers attribute to employees paying more for health-care and other benefits. In terms of the overall satisfaction of employees, the researchers attribute the steady level to a) societal ills such as terrorism not really affecting day-to-day job life b) the sample was of fully employed people c) American culture is generally optimistic and d) despite an increase in unemployment, the level is still historically low (6%), and serious economic hardship has fallen on relatively few. Despite the optimistic outlook, however, the survey also points to a likely doubling of turnover when the economy recovers. Rising unemployment makes it difficult for employees who want to leave to do so. But dropping unemployment opens more doors.

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