Employee dissatisfaction is at an all-time high, according to a national survey released Monday by the Conference Board, a New York-based private research group.

In a survey of 5,000 U.S. households, more than half of all respondents said they dislike their current jobs, compared to less than 40 percent in a similar survey conducted 20 years ago.

These days, the lowest levels of job satisfaction are among younger workers, the survey found. Only 39 percent of respondents aged 25 and younger said they liked their current jobs -- the lowest level in the survey's 20-year history -- compared to 45 percent for workers between 45 and 54.

By contrast, job-satisfaction levels are highest among older workers, with nearly half of all respondents between 55 and 64, and 65 and over, feeling satisfied by their employment situation.

Job-satisfaction levels tend to rise as the hours worked per week increase, survey results indicated, but at 60 or more hours, satisfaction levels drop again. Additionally, respondents who expect to remain in their current position a year from now reported higher satisfaction levels than those who see themselves working elsewhere.

According to Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center, satisfaction levels have deteriorated in recent years among all types of workers regardless of age, income or even residence. 
However, in terms of location, workers living in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania were less likely to be satisfied with their jobs than those living in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico, the survey found.

When it comes to money, not surprisingly, workers earning $15,000 or less per year reported the lowest level of job satisfaction, while those whose earnings exceeded $50,000 per year (52 percent) were the most satisfied.

When asked what they didn't like about their job, most workers said they were unhappy with bonus plans and promotion policies, followed by excessive workload and potential for growth, according to the study. Still, 56 percent of workers said they were satisfied with their commute and found their work and co-workers interesting.

"Although a certain amount of dissatisfaction with one's job is to be expected, the breadth of dissatisfaction is somewhat unsettling, since it carries over from what attracts employees to a job to what keeps them motivated and productive on the job," Franco said in a statement.

Published on: Mar 6, 2007