According to a recent report from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), employees consider benefits and job security as the two most important factors that contribute to their overall job satisfaction. This marks the fourth time in as many years that these two factors topped the SHRM’s annual Employee Job Satisfaction survey.
The survey also polled HR professionals on their thoughts about job satisfaction, and found similar results. HR professionals agreed with the employee population on the value of job security, positioning it as their second most important factor. An astonishing 72% of the HR population polled selected the employee-supervisor relationship as the most important factor effecting job satisfaction, ranking No. 1 in the survey for the seventh time in the past eight years. In comparison, only 48% of employees polled selected “relationship with supervisors” as an important factor, ranking it seventh on the list. The 2010 survey was made up of 25 elements spread across four categories, and included factors regarding wages, benefits, work environment, and advancement opportunities, among others. To ensure the validity of the survey’s results, the SHRM polled a wide sample of over 600 employees and 589 HR professionals, all from the United States.
This year’s survey had other interesting results. Employee compensation fell to its lowest rank ever this year, coming in at fifth on the employees’ poll. Last year, compensation fell out of the top five rankings for HR professionals, and this year it was listed as the ninth largest contributor to job satisfaction.
Besides job security, employees and HR professionals appear to agree that having opportunities to utilize skills/abilities while at work contributes to overall satisfaction. It is the third consecutive year this factor has ranked in the top five in both surveys, with employees placing more emphasis on this choice in 2010 than in previous years.
SHRM included a new choice in this year’s survey that received a lot of attention from both sides of the table. For the first time in the survey’s history, participants could select “organization’s financial stability” as a key contributor to job satisfaction, receiving enough selections to rank fourth on both surveys.
As for employee benefits, a secondary survey revealed that health care coverage was the most important benefit, followed closely by paid time off. Despite the amount of significance employees place on benefits, only 38% of employees polled felt “very satisfied” with their current medical benefits. Conversely, the majority of employees were very satisfied by the amount of paid time off they received.
Some employers are concerned about how health care reform could affect the benefits they offer, which could also affect job satisfaction. On the brighter side, this year’s employee survey showed that “the work itself” was selected enough to tie for fourth, pointing out that satisfaction does not only come in the form of paychecks and paid vacations.