Satisfaction with many job aspects returns to high pre-recession levels
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In the U.S., 58% of full- or part-time workers are completely satisfied with their job security. This represents an increase from the levels recorded during the aftermath of the Great Recession -- from 2009 to 2013 -- when roughly 50% of Americans said they were completely satisfied.
While workers' satisfaction with their job security has varied at least slightly from year to year, it has been consistently lower in the past five years than in the period immediately prior to the 2007-2009 recession. The weak economy and soft job market during that period appear to have caused workers to feel less secure in their employment, even after the U.S. unemployment rate fell from its peak in 2010. Now, with unemployment down to nearly 6%, Americans are finally showing more confidence in their job security -- in fact, more confidence than at any point in Gallup's trend. This trend complements the decline in worker concern about being laid off, which dropped this year to levels not seen since the recession.
Workers' overall satisfaction with several specific aspects of their jobs increased between 2013 and 2014. Last year, 54% of workers were completely satisfied with the amount of vacation time they receive. This increased by five percentage points to 59% in 2014. In 2013, 56% were satisfied with their boss or immediate supervisor. In 2014, 60% are satisfied -- a four-point increase.
Compared with 2013, three job aspects did not see an increase in the percentage of workers who are completely satisfied: on-the-job stress, chances for promotion, and flexibility of hours. However, satisfaction with these measures stayed almost the same as in 2013; none saw more than a one-point drop. Many aspects had seen drops in satisfaction levels toward the beginning of the recession. For example, satisfaction with the amount of vacation time one receives showed a four-point drop, from 55% completely satisfied in 2007 to 51% in 2008.
Worker satisfaction with different job aspects varies widely. One in four workers, 27%, are completely satisfied with their amount of on-the-job stress, while three in four (74%) are satisfied with physical safety conditions in the workplace. Satisfaction with safety has always been high -- its lowest point was 63% completely satisfied in 1999. Satisfaction with amounts of job stress, on the other hand, has historically been low. In 2007, 32% were satisfied with their job stress, the highest point for this measure.
Americans are more satisfied with most job aspects than they were last year. It is not clear, however, if employers have worked to improve working conditions and benefits, or if general improvements in the economy and job market have made workers more satisfied. The latter seems to be the case when thinking about job security, but the reasons behind the increases in satisfaction with other job aspects are less evident.
Separately, Gallup has conducted extensive research on employee engagement and on how to make employees happier and more productive in their jobs. Gallup's State of the American Workplace report analyzes employee engagement and productivity in workplaces across the U.S. This research shows that less than a third of U.S. employees (30%) are engaged at work. Thus, while Americans may be satisfied with their job security, and with other aspects of their jobs such as vacation time and retirement benefits, it does not necessarily mean they are engaged at work.
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Aug. 7-10, 2014, with a random sample of 1,032 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
For results based on the total sample of 474 adults who are employed full or part time, the margin of sampling error is ±6 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.
Samples are weighted to correct for unequal selection probability, nonresponse, and double coverage of landline and cell users in the two sampling frames. They are also weighted to match the national demographics of gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, population density, and phone status (cellphone only/landline only/both, and cellphone mostly). Demographic weighting targets are based on the most recent Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older U.S. population. Phone status targets are based on the most recent National Health Interview Survey. Population density targets are based on the most recent U.S. census. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting.
In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.
For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit www.gallup.com.