U.S workers are more satisfied with their working lives than they have been in decades, new data has revealed.

Around 62.3 percent of employees in the US said they were satisfied with their jobs in 2022, a leap from 56.8 percent just two years earlier.

Experts believe the increase reflects the tight pandemic labor market that drove up wages and increased flexible working.

The research, compiled by the think tank Conference Board, found that the happiest workers were those who chose to swap jobs during the pandemic and had a mix of in-person and working from home.

Of the 26 aspects individuals were polled on, the study found that people were happiest with their commutes, their co-workers, the physical environment of their workplace and job security.

The biggest increases in satisfaction arose from better work-life balance and workload.

Men’s satisfaction outpaced women in every component, particularly surrounding leave policies, bonus plans, promotions, communication and organizational culture.

In the area of job security, 61.8% of women were satisfied, compared with 68.7% of men.

Though the figures currently look rosy the Conference Board warns they may drop next year as some big employers reign in generous work form home allowances and the US dips into a forecast recession.

The organization predicts that unemployment will jump from 3.4% to 4.4% by the first quarter of 2024.

‘Once unemployment goes up, once we hit a recession, there will be fewer people changing jobs they were unhappy with,’ Selcuk Eren, a senior economist at the Conference Board, told the Wall Street Journal.

Kathryn Bolz, 30, has already experienced being made redundant twice in the past two years.

Her last job was working in sales operations for a technology company near Salt Lake City, but the role was cut last December.

‘With all the corporate jobs I’ve had, I’ve been rewarded for all my hard work, and still to be laid off twice is demoralizing,’ Ms. Bolz told the Wall Street Journal.

She has decided to leave corporate life behind and works full time renovating a motel in Torrey, Utah which she bought with her husband, as well as caring for the couples toddler.

‘I wanted something I could have control over and build my own wealth,’ she said.

‘For that reason, I don’t think I’ll ever have another traditional job again.’

Wage increases have most benefited lower-wage workers in the leisure and hospitality industry.

‘A lot of people in leisure and hospitality left and took jobs in, say, logistics or warehouse chains like Costco, where the hours and pay are better, Brad Hershbein, senior economist at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research said.

‘You’ve got stable schedules, you can plan for child care and transportation, you’re not dealing with irate customers, it can be a more pleasant working environment.’

Average hourly earnings for leisure and hospitality workers rose to $21.01 in April 2023 from $16.91 in February 2020, according to government data.

These improved conditions have encouraged employers take notice of staff turnover and employee welfare.

Sean Watterson, co-owner of the Happy Dog restaurant and live-music venue in Cleveland, shut down for 15 months during the pandemic and only recently returned to a full, seven-day schedule.

‘I attribute that partly to not wanting to burn out our best people by working them too hard,’ he said.

Midcareer people with kids have also been winners, benefitting from remote work arrangements, Hershbein said.

The opportunity to stay remote ‘was a key differentiator for me,’ Naveen Radhakrishna, who works in insurance, told the Journal.

The 39-year-old with two young kids and a wife with health complications said of the flexibility: ‘You have the autonomy to do work when you want to. Some people on my team start at 6 in the morning and end at 3, some start late and end late. If you have to run chores during the day, we make room for that.’

Source: DailyMail

Find your next role here

Career Coach Gurus

Find your personal career coach here