Monday, October 17, 2016

Rise in Job Satisfaction Means Americans Should be Happier at Work – So Why aren’t you?

63+ Million Americans are unhappy with their current job if studies are to be believed

2016 job satisfaction numbers continue to buck a ten (10) year unhappiness trend in the workplace. Now 49.6% of employees claim to be satisfied with their current jobs, according to a 2016 Conference Board Report (, this CBR report largely attributes this increase in happiness at work to the economy and a declining unemployment rate, which leads to increased hiring and more opportunities.

Other studies show an even much rosier picture, a 2016 SHRM ( study looked at engagement in the workforce, the study indicates that there is an improvement with engagement. People are now more engaged at work at 3.8 (1 lowest 5 highest), which is an increase from prior years. Additionally SHRM reports that approximately 88% of US Employees reported overall job satisfaction, an increase from their last year’s report of 86%. In comparison to the SHRM report, this is a much higher percentage than the 49.6% from the CBR report.

In the US there were 124 Million full-time working Americans in Sept 2016, according to Statista ( Based on the CBR Study and SHRM study this means that roughly 50% of survey participants are happy at work – the flip side is that 50% are not entirely happy. Regarding numbers of workers, there might be anywhere from 60 Million to 110 Million satisfied full-time employees. This seems confident right? Not entirely, the downside to this is that this leaves tens of millions of Americans who are unsatisfied with their current job – as many as 15 Million to 63+Million UN-SATISFIED workers.

So what makes a worker satisfied or not? The studies both indicate the areas that are key to happiness in the workplace are related to the treatment of employees/managers, compensation/pay, benefits and job security. Each individual is ultimately responsible for his or her own job happiness, meaning that we all need to take responsibility for our own career and ultimate job satisfaction.

Here are five tips to increase your job satisfaction, which might just make you happier at work.
  1. Engagement - By increasing your engagement at your work with management, coworkers, and others can help you better appreciation your job - those who are engaged at work tend to feel better.
  2. Accountability – More responsibility comes to those who demonstrate that they can be trusted and are accountable – do your job and always ask for feedback and look for additional ways you can help.
  3. Networking - Networking inside and outside of your organization, can help you to develop the perspective on the market and your situation - you might think the grass is greener elsewhere, when that may not be the case.
  4. Volunteering – Volunteering puts others needs first, forcing you to not focus all on the issues you have and provide focus on ‘greater good,' an hour or two once a month at a food bank, shelter or school can really add perspective.
  5. Hobbies/Exercising – No matter what your roles are; either a business owner or employee, everyone needs some downtime from work activities – having a hobby and getting enough exercise can give you a break you need.

Polls and studies can give us a glimpse into the employment situations with broad-brush strokes – but as you can see from the two studies cited, each shows a very different percentage of happy folks.

Regardless of what the polls indicate, the reality is that for millions who are in an unhappy situation they are not a statistic or percentage. Those who are struggling to find happiness can and should take steps to make a change. The first step should be to discuss with your boss. If that’s not an option, consider reaching out to a mentor, or finding a coach who can help you see a different perspective perhaps helping you find your work happiness – with help you too can buck the unhappiness trend.

John Hawkins is a Vice President of Marketing and Communications, a technologist and the Author of ‘Building a Strategic Plan for your Life and Business” Author You can find him on twitter

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