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The Conference Board Study on U.S. Employees Job Satisfaction

Job SatisfactionWith Labor Day just around the corner, The Conference Board’s latest survey on job satisfaction finds that 51 percent of U.S. employees feel overall satisfied with their job.

The results also show that, over the last seven years, employee attitudes about wages and job security experienced the biggest improvements.

Workers are disappointed with their job’s professional development aspects – a warning signal for any organization looking to attract and retain talent in today’s tight labor market.

“To attract and retain the most productive employees in today’s labor market, companies must make a bigger commitment to addressing the factors within their control,” said Rebecca L. Ray, Ph.D., a report author and Executive Vice President, The Conference Board. “Among other steps, that entails addressing the job components with which employees are least satisfied, including job training, the performance review process, and promotion policy. As workers continue to voluntarily leave their jobs at a record rate, the need to prioritize components relating to their professional development could not come at a more pressing time.”

The Conference Board’s survey gauged approximately 1,500 employed individuals, who together comprise a snapshot of the U.S. workforce. Participants weighed in on 23 components that contribute to job satisfaction.

“In 2019, we forecast unemployment to dip close to 3.5 percent, a low rate not seen since the 1960s,” said Gad Levanon, a report author and Chief Economist for North America, The Conference Board. “As a result, we can expect employers to continue reducing educational requirements in the hiring process, leading to fewer workers feeling overqualified in their jobs, which further raises their job satisfaction.”

Findings from the survey include the following:

Job satisfaction is improving faster for lower-income households

  • The tightening labor market has become more visible in blue-collar and low-paid services occupations than in white-collar occupations. As a result, labor market conditions for these workers have improved, and so has their job satisfaction.

Overall job satisfaction increased for the seventh year in a row

  • During this period wages and job security saw the largest improvements. Satisfaction has increased each year following the Great Recession.

Greatest satisfaction: a job’s relational and social aspects

  • Among the 23 survey components participants gave the highest marks to the following five:
    1. People at work
    2. Commute to work
    3. Interest in work
    4. Supervisor
    5. Physical environment

Greatest disappointment: a job’s professional development and recognition aspects

  • Among the 23 survey components participants gave the lowest marks to the following five:
    1. Workload
    2. Educational/job training programs
    3. Performance review process
    4. Bonus plan
    5. Promotion policy

Minnesota is the state with the highest job satisfaction

  • Minnesota displaced Texas, the prior front runner, as the state with the highest job satisfaction (58 percent)
    • Potential explanations come from the state’s strong job market, which is much tighter than the national job market

Through 2018 and 2019, the labor market will continue tightening; it will benefit employees and challenge employers

  • Workers have more job options than they have had in some time
  • This year and next year, companies will likely have to try harder to satisfy their workers for retention and productivity
  • As a result job satisfaction for employees will likely continue increasing


For more information contact: Joe Diblasi –

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