Labor Day Surprise: Job Dissatisfaction Rises

One of the interesting things about this recession has been the modest rise in job satisfaction: People have been happy just to have a job, for the most part.


But that sentiment may be shifting as the economic tide starts to turn, according to a new survey by Adecco.

Workers’ dissatisfaction with their employers gravitates toward three areas: compensation, retention efforts, and career growth.

  • 66% are not satisfied with their current compensation
  • 78% are not satisfied with the company’s overall retention efforts
  • 76% are not satisfied with career growth opportunities at the company

I would have thought that more than two-thirds of workers would report dismay over their compensation. After all, 2009 was the Year of the Salary Freeze. 

I’m a little surprised by the overall job dissatisfaction reported in the Adecco survey. The findings contrast a similar survey by Yahoo! HotJobs at the end of 2008 (see article), in which 38% of workers said they were “very satisfied” with their jobs, a bump from 28% percent in 2007. Also, a study by SHRM in June 2009 found that 40% were “very satisfied” with their jobs.

“What workers are telling us is that even during a recession, just having a job does not equate to job satisfaction,” said Bernadette Kenny, chief career officer, Adecco Group North America.

True enough; hiring is still happening. But even though some economists say we’re closer to an economic recovery, it seems too early to tell — at least from the job-market perspective. It’s still VERY competitive out there for job seekers.

If you’re not yet ready to jump from a job you’re not crazy about, here are some resources that might help: