However, it seems that reports of worker dissatisfaction have been greatly exaggerated.
In April 2022, ResumeBuilder.com surveyed 1,250 Americans 18 and older who are currently employed about their level of job satisfaction, finding that the majority of working Americans have a favorable opinion of their current job. ResumeBuilder also dug deeper into what employees like or dislike about their jobs and how they view the role of work in their lives.
- 45% of workers ‘love’ their jobs; 42% ‘like’ their jobs
- 8% of workers ‘dislike’ their jobs; 5% ‘hate’ their jobs
- Nearly 6 in 10 workers who like or love their job say it’s because their work is personally fulfilling and meaningful
- 42% of workers who hate or dislike their jobs blame burnout from a workload that doesn’t allow a healthy work-life balance
- 52% of workers who started a new job within the last year are still actively or passively seeking new employment opportunities
More than 2 in 5 workers ‘love’ their jobs
Forty-five percent of survey participants say they ‘love’ their jobs, while 42% ‘like’ their job. Meanwhile, 8% of workers ‘dislike’ their jobs, and 5% say they ‘hate’ their jobs.
According to career counselor and job search coach Stacie Haller, the high percentage of workers who are satisfied in their current jobs is likely a reflection of the workplace upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic kicked off a re-evaluation among American workers as to what they want and need in their work life,” Haller says. “The results of this survey are from our current workplace, so those who have found positions which balance their needs will like or love their jobs, and those who haven’t yet found that will be unhappy. So many candidates I speak with are looking for new jobs now because they thought they were content, but realized they want more out of their employment situations.”
Nearly 9 in 10 Millennials, Gen Zers love or like their jobs
When broken down by age groups, Millennials and Gen Zers are most likely to report being satisfied with their current jobs.
Eighty-nine percent of respondents ages 25-44 like or love their jobs, as do 88% of respondents ages 18-24. Eighty-six percent of workers ages 55 and older report liking or loving their job. Members of Gen X (ages 45-54) report job satisfaction at the lowest rate, although 82% of workers in this group say they like or love their jobs.
Despite the debate over which is better––working remotely or in-person––both groups report job satisfaction at similar rates. Eighty-seven percent of respondents who work remotely love or like their jobs, as do 89% of those who work in-person. Satisfaction is slightly lower among those who are working in a hybrid in-person/remote set-up; 82% of these individuals report loving or liking their jobs.
Part of this contentment may be attributed to the fact that in this new, more flexible work landscape, employees are increasingly able to work in an environment that suits their preferences.
Seventy-four percent of respondents who prefer remote work are working remotely, 67% of those who prefer to work in-person are working on-site, and 51% of workers who like both are working in a hybrid set-up.
The length of time a worker is at a job may also play a role in their job satisfaction.
Eighty-six percent of workers who started in their current job within the last year love or like it. Job satisfaction peaks at 1-4 years of employment, with 94% of respondents in this group saying they love or like their job.
That drops to 89% for people who have been working in a position 5-9 years, 79% for individuals who have been at their current job 10-19 years, and 74% who have been doing the same job for 20 years or more.
Across most industries, between 87% and 93% of workers report liking or loving their jobs. The exceptions to this are the media and communications industry (60%), community and social service jobs (68%), and office and administrative support (70%).
Work that is ‘personally fulfilling and meaningful’ key to worker satisfaction
What’s the biggest contributor to worker satisfaction? According to 57% of respondents who love or like their jobs, it’s work that is personally fulfilling and meaningful.
Other key factors that make employees love or like their jobs include feeling valued and respected by co-workers and supervisors (54%), having a job that pays enough to allow them to live comfortably and save money (48%), flexibility and a healthy work/life balance (47%), and good relationships with co-workers and supervisors (42%).
These factors make sense when considering that workers are placing equal value on work being both financially and personally fulfilling.
Fifty-six percent of all respondents say that the role of work in an individual’s life should be to both provide financially for the worker and their family and give the individual a sense of personal fulfillment and satisfaction.
“The Holy Grail for workers is to find a position where they find personal fulfillment as well as fair and equal compensation for the work that they do,” Haller says. “For many years, people felt like they didn’t have the ability to get both. However, now companies are responding to their employees’ demands to deliver more personal fulfillment and new ways of working, such as remote work.”
However, even among workers who love or like their jobs, there is still room for improvement. When asked what could be done to improve their level of job satisfaction, 59% of respondents in this category say a pay raise would make them like their job even more, while 45% want better benefits, and 30% want more opportunities for advancement.
For people who hate or dislike their jobs, burnout is the main culprit
Among respondents who dislike or hate their current jobs, the most-cited reason for why is that they’re experiencing burnout because their workload doesn’t allow for a healthy work-life balance (42%).
The ability to create a healthier work-life balance is one of the arguments in favor of working from home. This survey provides some evidence that this might be true. Fifty-two percent of individuals who work in-person say they’re unhappy in their job because of burnout from an unhealthy work/life balance, compared to 32% of fully remote employees, and 30% of those who work in a hybrid set-up.
On the flip side, a criticism of remote work––that those who aren’t in an office are less visible to team members and managers, and therefore less likely to get promotions––may be a source of dissatisfaction for those who work from home. Thirty-eight percent of remote workers who ‘dislike’ or ‘hate’ their jobs say it’s because they don’t feel valued or respected by colleagues or supervisors. The same percent are dissatisfied because of a lack of opportunities for advancement.
It’s usually assumed that individuals don’t like their jobs because they feel they aren’t compensated fairly. However, only 35% of respondents who dislike or hate their jobs say it’s because they’re underpaid and living paycheck to paycheck.
While insufficient compensation might not be the biggest source of workers’ dissatisfaction, it’s what unhappy workers think will improve their attitude towards their jobs. Forty-two percent of dissatisfied workers say that higher pay would improve their current employment situation.
Despite the fact that a poor work-life balance is the number one cause of dissatisfaction among employees, only 33% of respondents say that more control over their work hours/location would improve their job satisfaction.
According to Haller, “For many workers, being able to support themselves or their families may be the most important part of a job. With the advent of rising inflation, it’s not surprising to see that higher pay is on the top of the list of ways to improve their employment situation.”
Half of workers who started a new job within the last year are still sending out resumes
Although levels of job satisfaction are relatively high, especially among employees who have only been at their jobs a short time, it doesn’t mean there’s an end in sight for high employee turnover.
Thirty-one percent of employees who like or love a job they started within the last year are passively looking for other employment opportunities, and 16% are still actively sending out resumes.
Among individuals who dislike or hate a relatively new job, 22% are actively hunting for a different employment situation, and 30% are passively keeping an eye out for a different job.
Haller says some of this continuous job-seeking may be due to something like buyer’s remorse.
“We’re seeing now that many folks who jumped to a new position are realizing that they may have jumped too fast, or didn’t do their due diligence before accepting a new position,” she says. “I don’t think people want to keep changing jobs, but they will seek what they believe is the right job for them.”
Overall, those who like or love their jobs are twice as likely as those who dislike or hate their jobs to say they’re not currently looking for another position, by a rate of 51% to 25%. Among individuals who dislike or hate their current jobs, 42% are actively seeking a different employment situation, and 33% are passively looking by being open to new career opportunities.
All data found within this report derives from a survey commissioned by ResumeBuilder.com and conducted online by survey platform Pollfish. In total, 1,250 Americans 18 and older were surveyed. To qualify for the survey, each respondent had to be either self-employed, or employed for wages by another individual/company. Appropriate respondents were found via Pollfish’s screening tools. This survey was conducted from April 8-9, 2022. All respondents were asked to answer all questions truthfully and to the best of their abilities. For full survey data, please email Content Marketing Specialist Kristen Scatton at [email protected].