Job satisfaction on the decline

2005

Job satisfaction in Britain is on the decline. Fewer than two-thirds of employees are happy with their jobs, while the proportion of people feeling committed to their employer is also on the wane.

A survey by Mercer Human Resource Consulting covering over 1,100 UK workers has found that the proportion of people who claim to be satisfied with their jobs has fallen by 10 per cent since the survey was last carried out three years ago.

Furthermore, fewer than six out of 10 employees say they feel a strong sense of commitment to their organisation – a decline of five per cent since 2002.

Dr Patrick Gilbert, Head of Organisational Research and Effectiveness at Mercer, said that Britain's buoyant employment market had intensified the trend.

"The employment market has become more buoyant in the last two years, so more employees are feeling restless and dissatisfied in their jobs. With more opportunities available, people often think the grass is greener elsewhere."

"When employment opportunities are limited, employees tend to have lower expectations and feel more satisfied with their jobs," he added.

Mercer also found that only six out of 10 employees are proud to work for their organisation while only two-thirds believe they have a long-term future with their current employer.

"If employees respect senior management and feel their organisation is performing well, they're more likely to feel proud and committed," said Dr Gilbert.

"Senior managers can help to build long-term commitment by communicating a clear vision of the company's future and by defining career paths for their staff. This approach can have a profound impact on organisational performance as committed employees deliver superior service, leading to improved customer satisfaction and a long-term source of competitive advantage."

But as the survey reveals, too few managers are putting this advice into practice or listening to the concerns of their staff. Only half of the survey respondents felt that managers understood the problems facing employees in their jobs.

The survey also found that fewer than half the respondents felt encouraged to come up with new and better ways of doing things.

"The culture in many organisations is for management to give orders rather than gather ideas, so employees often feel unable to suggest improvements to work processes," Dr Gilbert added.

"Organisations that fail to listen to employee suggestions could be missing a trick. Employees are closest to operational issues and customer concerns and can provide timely information on how to improve business performance."