Study: Most workers are fairly happy on the job, but low pay remains a sticking point
- Most employees (85%) in a new CNBC/SurveyMonkey poll said they're somewhat or very satisfied with their jobs, but more than 40% of those surveyed thought a higher salary would improve their work satisfaction — and nearly one-third thought of leaving their job in the past three months. The CNBC/SurveyMonkey Workplace Happiness Index polled more than 8,000 professionals on how employees feel about their jobs based on pay, opportunities for advancement, recognition, autonomy and meaning.
- Most respondents said they're keeping up with workplace technology and innovation, but few are breaking new ground. Less than one-third said technology is somewhat or very much a threat to their job, but a majority of respondents trust their direct supervisors to prepare them for technology changes at work. Bosses who build trust and enable workers to advance tend to have happier workers, the report revealed.
- The official index currently sits at 71 out of 100 points, despite the 85% worker satisfaction stat, signaling that workplace happiness is more complex "than a simple thumbs up or thumbs down," according to the report. For example, women are less happy with their pay than men, with 76% of men saying they're well paid compared to 69% of women, according to the findings.
Results of the survey support the findings of myriad polls on employee satisfaction and engagement. Although most employers report being satisfied with their jobs, a good percentage of them are constantly on the look-out for other opportunities. Some plan on leaving with less than a year on the job; while sometimes this can't be avoided, new employees can be driven away by recruiting experiences that don't match up with the actual workplace culture. Turnover is at an all-time high, a previous Salary.com report noted. Technology has stepped in to help improve the recruiting process for both recruiter and applicant, but the shift to automate certain processes is not always smooth.
A report from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services found that outmoded technology in the workplace frustrates workers, many of whom might have access to updated systems for their personal use. Employees in the CNBC/SurveyMonkey poll said they're keeping up with technological advancements; employers will need to do the same by updating to systems and tools that will enable them to engage workers and compete for talent.
Notably, workers say that they would swap a pay increase for more meaningful work or a more understanding boss, according to various studies, but money remains the ultimate motivator for most people. Employers are trying to enhance employee engagement with generous leave benefits, career development opportunities and flexible work schedules. But race- and gender-based pay disparities continue to pose a problem to employers, especially as more workers demand pay transparency from employers.