Prevent That 6-Month Itch

A new Kenexa survey of multi-national companies found that for the first six months, nearly 75% of workers are engaged on the job.

Data from more than 840,000 workers, however, showed that from month six through month 18, satisfaction levels decline sharply. By the end of their second year, the majority are already actively looking for a new gig.

Yet the Kenexa survey also suggests that when employees celebrate the two-year milestone, there is more long-term satisfaction among the engaged workers. At year 16, more than 75% of workers reported being satisfied, with 72% continuing to feel that way by the twentieth year of service.

“These findings are of critical importance to employers. A workforce that continually churns creates enormous expense and substantial employee morale issues, and significantly reduces a company’s competitive advantage,” said Jeffrey Saltzman, Kenexa’s New York practice leader, in a release.

“This pattern of disengagement represents an opportunity for companies to increase their performance if the disengagement pattern is addressed proactively and managed,” added Saltzman.

U.S Job Satisfaction Declines

Yet The Conference Board reports that Americans are growing increasingly unhappy with their jobs, a decline over a period of two decades.

Based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households, the report suggests that less than half of all Americans are satisfied with their jobs, down from 61% nearly 20 years ago.

Today’s newest entrants to the workforce are the least satisfied with their jobs, according to the report. Less than 39% of workers under the age of 25 are satisfied with their employment situation. However, nearly half of workers aged 55 and up report they are satisfied with their employment situation.

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“Although a certain amount of dissatisfaction with one’s job is to be expected, the breadth of dissatisfaction is somewhat unsettling, since it carries over from what attracts employees to a job to what keeps them motivated and productive on the job,” said Lynn Franco, director of research, in a release.

Mind the Job Satisfaction Gap

Meanwhile, a Salary.com employee satisfaction and retention survey of 11,852 employees and 311 human resources professionals finds 60% of workers saying they plan to look for a new job in the next three months, nearly double the 36% that employers believe are looking.

Despite Kenexa’s findings that disengagement revelations represent an opportunity for companies to address these issues proactively, Salary.com says most HR professionals greatly underestimate the steps employees have taken in their job search.

Its survey also finds that 73% of employees state that they have updated their resumes, compared to only 32% as estimated by HR professionals.

And nearly 80% of employees have surfed online job postings while HR estimates that only 40% are doing so.

Elaine Rigoli has nearly 15 years of experience managing content and community for various B2B and consumer websites. Elaine has written thousands of business and technology articles and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and eWeek, among other publications.

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