With Job Satisfaction on Wane, IT Employers May Lose Workers

Ann All

Just a few weeks ago I wrote about a couple of studies that suggested employee engagement was more directly tied to a company's success than previously believed.


So, should employers worry about a widely-cited Conference Board survey that found U.S. workers are more unhappy now than they've been in two decades? Forty-five percent of respondents say they are satisfied with their jobs, down from 61.1 percent in 1987, the first year the survey was administered. Said Lynn Franco, director of the Consumer Research Center of The Conference Board:


Through both economic boom and bust during the past two decades, our job satisfaction numbers have shown a consistent downward trend.


More specifically, reports The Washington Post, only 45 percent of respondents marked either a four or a five on a five-point scale of job satisfaction. Oddly, the commute was the most enjoyable aspect of their job for respondents, which "really illustrates how much dissatisfaction there is," Franco told the Post. (What does that mean for those of us who telecommute?)


The Conference Board numbers conflict with similar surveys taken by Gallup and the University of Chicago, notes the Post. Among the happiest workers, according to the University of Chicago, are firefighters, clergy and physical therapists. The least happy: roofers, bartenders, clothing and home furnishing salespeople, cashiers and meatpackers.


IT pros might be happier than roofers, but their work satistfaction levels are falling, according to a Computerworld story that cites a survey by the Corporate Executive Board (CEB). About 10,000 of 150,000 workers participating in the survey are employed in IT positions. The latest survey, taken in mid-2009, found just 4 percent of IT pros are considered "highly engaged" workers, down from 12 percent in 2007. IT employees "are likely to be the first ones to leave your company as soon as they can," said Jaime Capella, a managing director in CEB's information technology practice.


Considering the improving IT job outlook, companies may need to worry about losing their top IT talent. Mike Hagan, a vice president of infrastructure at a health insurance company and co-author of "Achieving IT Service Quality: The Opposite of Luck," told Computerworld the slumping economy has resulted in "unnatrually low attrition levels" and predicted many IT workers would look for what he called more "purposeful" employment.

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