What's your job satisfaction number?

July 27, 2011
By: Vicki Bell

Among the most popular articles on thefabricator.com is a series about Job Satisfaction that was written early in 2003. In December 2002, we surveyed “Fabricating Update” readers about how satisfied they were with their jobs.

We asked them to rate their job satisfaction for the year on a scale of 1 (very dissatisfied) to 5 (very satisfied). By all accounts, 2002 was a most difficult year. The job market was tight in many areas as companies scaled back to weather the 2001 economic downturn. Employers enacted wage freezes and, in some cases, wage cuts. Bonuses, employee development, and other perks were reduced or eliminated. As many workers suddenly found themselves without jobs, many others found themselves working harder and longer for less compensation and potentially less job satisfaction. (Sound familiar?)

Thirty-three percent of the respondents to the 2002 survey question rated their overall job satisfaction as 5, very satisfied. Thirty-three percent selected 4, satisfied; 10 percent, 3, neither satisfied nor dissatisfied; 10 percent, 2, dissatisfied; and 14 percent, 1, very dissatisfied.

This was early in the decade, years before the 2008 Great Recession. Conditions in the years since 2008 have mirrored those that followed 2001, with companies tightening their belts, cutting jobs, and operating with fewer workers, who often are expected to do more without increased compensation. After all, these workers are lucky enough to still have jobs.

Lately, reports have begun to surface that indicate worker job dissatisfaction may be on the rise. The careerbuilder.com article "Do you have one foot out the door?" cited a Mercer LLC survey that said 40 percent of employees ages 25 to 34, and 44 percent of those 24 and younger say they are currently considering a job change.

We thought it would be a good idea to take stock of our newsletter readers' job satisfaction levels at this time. This time we asked "Welding Wire" readers for their feedback. Forty percent of those who responded chose 5, very satisfied. Twenty percent selected 4, satisfied; 13 percent, 3, neither satisfied nor dissatisfied; 7 percent, 2, dissatisfied; and 20 percent, 1, very dissatisfied.

Among the 20 percent who are very dissatisfied is James, who works for a Fortune 500 company, wrote: "Doing MORE work in less time.  What used to take me 10 to 12 hours a day, I am now expected to get done in 8 hours,  as if to say the overtime was never really necessary anyway.  My boss looks like a HERO as he cuts OT in his department 100 percent and drives me up the crazy wire with added undue stress in my attempts to get it ALL done in  8.  It's impossible, and things suffer, and I then take it home with me and worry about it until the next day.

"Also, there is word of a new health insurance plan starting Jan. 1 of the new year.  We'll now have a deductible, and once we meet it, our insurance will only cover 80 percent of the bill.  So, along with increased health insurance premiums, I'll be expected to cover the additional 20 percent of the cost myself instead of the benefit of having a health insurance plan that paid for everything as long as we stayed in network.  In short, I have just taken a HUGE pay cut as I am already well UNDERPAID.

"This does not make me happy at all, so much so that I am submitting my rating as a '1,' very dissatisfied, for your survey.  What kills me is they talk the talk as if they care, and they want you to use your insurance and get preventative testing, and then they go and slam us with this news about the insurance changing. Sure, I am glad I have a job, but remember, I wouldn't have a job if I was not a valuable, needed employee. Why does it all have to be so one- sided?  It's as if the real good jobs are now slipping away through these types of cuts. I don't understand how such a huge worldwide company can let their employees foot the types of bills a 20 percent medical bill could actually add up to be!"

(James, I feel your pain, but I have to say that these days, I don't know anyone who works for a company that provides 100 percent paid medical.)

Some of the 40 percent who chose 5, very satisfied, offered some insight into what makes their jobs more satisfying. Ken, who works for a Houston-based company, said, "Love my job. I was laid off at my other job, and a friend got me in past the receptionist and HR (at this company). Went straight to the big boss. Friends are the way to go nowadays! Great place. Fortunate for me to be here. Unique place; everybody helps everybody.  Business is thriving."

Also very satisfied with his job is Steve from Iowa, who said, "I work for a very good employer, I started out on the shop floor as a welder 27 years ago, and now I'm our weld engineer. I believe if you come to work on time, have a good attitude, and do a good day's work while caring about your job, most employers will gobble you up."

What's your number—5, 1, or something in-between?

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Vicki Bell

Vicki Bell

FMA Communications Inc.
2135 Point Blvd
Elgin, IL 60123
Phone: 815-227-8209