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Employer Advice: When Job Satisfaction Isn’t Enough

A new survey from reveals that 72 per cent of employees are “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their jobs overall. However, 41 per cent report that they look for new opportunities on a regular basis.

Leaving a job you hate, or even a job you’re just lukewarm about, is easy to understand, but why mess with a good thing? Optimistically, this overlap could be evidence that workers are gaining confidence in the job market.

“As the labour market opens up and new opportunities arise, workers are beginning to consider their options – 2 in 5 workers regularly look for new opportunities despite many of them being satisfied,” says Mark Bania, managing director of CareerBuilder Canada.

The flip side of the story

This may be less welcome news to employers worried about losing their top talent. In order to understand how to retain valuable employees, taking a look at what factors drive worker satisfaction is a good place to start.

Satisfied workers most frequently point to the people they work with as being a key factor (62 per cent) of their happiness. Other reasons contributing to high satisfaction include:

  • Salary: 55 per cent
  • Good work-life balance: 47 per cent
  • Benefits: 42 per cent
  • Like the boss: 40 per cent
  • Ability to make a difference: 34 per cent
  • Feeling challenged every day: 33 per cent
  • Quick commute: 30 per cent
  • Feeling valued/accomplishments are recognised: 30 per cent
  • Flexible schedule or ability to telecommute: 27 per cent
  • Job title: 27 per cent

“Our findings show that workers want jobs where they not only feel they can make a difference and are recognized for their accomplishments, but have a healthy work-life balance,” Bania says.  “Implementing programs that meet these desires can go a long way toward incentivising employees to stay.”

Work-life balance is of high importance to workers, and for the most part, employers appear to be on the same page. Seventy-two per cent of workers are “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with work-life balance, while only 12 per cent are “dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied.”

The numbers remain fairly positive when it comes to career advancement opportunities. More than half of employees (54 per cent) report being “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with career advancement opportunities at their current employer, 30 per cent are neither satisfied nor unsatisfied, and 16 per cent are “dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied.”

What employers – and employees – can do

It’s possible that ambitious workers may be happy with their current jobs but may wonder if they could have even better opportunities for advancement – and a higher salary – if they were to look for a job elsewhere. Employers hoping to retain their top talent should encourage their employees to discuss career-pathing options and even potential lateral moves within the company that may challenge them in new ways.

At the same time, employees should take it upon themselves to investigate and understand potential opportunities within their current organizations as well. Don’t assume your boss knows your career goals if you haven’t clearly expressed them. Be direct and assertive. Most employers will willingly work with you to help you realize your aspirations. After exploring possibilities at your current employer, if you’re still running into barriers or you’re unhappy with your chances of promotion, then it may be time to look into options outside the company.

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