Workers OK With Their Job but Seek Security, Communication

October 7, 2011

The vast majority of U.S. employees say they are satisfied with their jobs, but on average only about 1 in 3 workers feel they have the things they value most—job security, compensation, benefits, communication with senior management, and their employer’s financial stability, according to a new survey by the Society for Human Resource Management.

The 2011 Employee Job Satisfaction Survey shows that 83 percent of 600 randomly selected employees are satisfied with their current job. However, only 28 percent reported being satisfied with job security, which has ranked as the most important aspect of job satisfaction for four years in a row.

About the same percentage reported satisfaction with their organization’s financial stability, benefits and communication with senior management. About 22 percent were satisfied with their compensation.

The survey will be released in a couple of weeks, according to Mark Schmit, vice president of research for SHRM, who presented the key findings Oct. 6 at the SHRM 2011 Strategy Conference in Chicago.

The survey, which breaks down responses according to gender and age, shows that women put a slightly higher premium on job security than men. Only 24 percent said they were satisfied in this area compared with 31 percent of men.

Other SHRM data on employee engagement show that workers are only moderately engaged, and a big reason is the lack of training and career development opportunities, Schmit says.

“Development opportunities appear to be low right now,” he says. “Employees are not as tuned in to their organization as in the past. If I’m not getting the extra training, development or advancement, why would I do anything extra for the company? That’s a vicious circle.”

Schmit says that as the economy picks up along with hiring, employers who have cut back on those programs should brace themselves for some turnover.  “The smart companies will start putting some of that stuff back,” he says.

Rita Pyrillis is Workforce Management’s senior writer. To comment, email