Job security ranks first in worker survey

ON THE JOB

August 03, 2008|By HANAH CHO

How would you measure job satisfaction?

For employees in a new survey, job security is the most important aspect of satisfaction.

The Society for Human Resource Management, which conducted the survey of 601 employees, says the answer underscores the uncertainty workers are feeling in a slumping economy in which experts differ on whether we're in a recession or not.

With housing and credit markets in turmoil, the trade group says the economic climate is similar to 2002, when "talks of recession and mass layoffs were rampant."

Other measures of job satisfaction, in order of importance, included:

*Benefits

*Compensation

*Feeling safe in the workplace

*Communication between employees and senior management

*Opportunities to use skills and abilities

Overall, more than 40 percent of employees reported feeling very satisfied at their jobs, up from 38 percent in 2007.

Female workers reported higher levels of job satisfaction than their male counterparts. And older workers, ages 56 and up, were more satisfied with their jobs than workers 35 and younger.

For these younger workers, compensation was the most important factor.

In contrast to employees' perspective on job satisfaction, human resources executives identified different measures when asked what was important for workers.

Job security was ranked seventh, while relationships with their immediate supervisor was the most important factor of job satisfaction, according to a survey of 685 HR professionals.

"Everyone needs an anchor in times of change," Nancy C. Nelson, a member of the SHRM's corporate social responsibility special expertise panel, says in the report. "Job security, feeling safe at work, and satisfactory compensation and benefits are basic requirements that must be addressed before higher-level needs can be met, at least on a systematic basis. The more things change in the world, the more people look for constants."

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