Poor and happy, well-off and not so happy

UpsetemployeeWhich workers are more likely to love their jobs: the ones making more than $50,000 a year or the ones making less than $15,000? In a survey of workers commissioned by The Conference Board, 17 percent of the under-$15,000s said they’re "very satisfied" with their jobs, vs. 14 percent of the $50,000-plus respondents. However, the under-$15,000s were less likely than the $50,000-plus cohort to say they’re satisfied (whether "very" or otherwise) with their jobs: 45 percent vs. 55 percent. The survey also found Americans "increasingly unhappy" with their jobs. "The decline in job satisfaction is widespread among workers of all ages and across all income brackets." In 1995, nearly 60 percent of workers said they were satisfied with their jobs. In the new survey, the figure is down to 50 percent. The declines were particularly steep among workers in the $25,000-35,000 income bracket (from 55.7 percent to 41.4 percent) and those in the 35-44 age range (from 60.9 percent to 49.2 percent). If this survey’s findings seem unduly gloomy, you can take solace in knowing that other such studies have found a higher incidence of worker contentment. For instance, a Gallup poll summarized last fall in Adweek‘s beloved "Takes" section found 50 percent of respondents "completely satisfied" with their jobs, vs. just 11 percent "somewhat" or "completely" dissatisfied. Then again, perhaps that survey had an oversampling of ad agencies’ ever-cheerful employees.

—Posted by Mark Dolliver