Job satisfaction at all-time high thanks to hybrid working and job switching.

Job satisfaction at all-time high thanks to hybrid working and job switching

According to The Conference Board, US workers have never been more content, despite the pandemic, quiet quitting, quiet firing, and the forwards and backwards over hybrid working. Overall job satisfaction among US workers increased in 2022 to its highest point since The Conference Board began (TCB) surveying US worker satisfaction in 1987.

The largest gains occurred in “experience of work” addressing components such as work/life balance, workload, and performance review processes. Satisfaction with compensation and benefits components. including health plans, bonus plans, and educational and job training programs also significantly improved in 2022 compared to a year ago, according to TCB.

The top insights from TCB’s report are the following:

  • Women are less satisfied. Despite year-over-year improvements, job satisfaction among women remains below that of men, with large gaps appearing in job security, promotion policy, and bonus plans, as well as compensation and benefits, including pay, sick day policy, vacation policy, and health plans. As a result of the dissatisfaction with the financial components of their jobs, women are also less satisfied with other job characteristics including recognition, performance reviews, growth potential, and communication channels.
  • Hybrid work arrangements. Across the majority of the 26 factors surveyed, employees with hybrid work arrangements report the greatest job satisfaction compared to fully remote or fully on-premises workers. Where possible, leaders should continue their support of hybrid work arrangements to keep job satisfaction high.
  • Work experience and culture. Apart from competitive pay, the factors that most influence employee retention center on work experience and culture. These factors intersect with the top predictors of overall job satisfaction, suggesting that leaders should prioritize the cultural aspects of work to drive both employee retention and job satisfaction.
  • Job-switchers are happier. Many workers improved their overall satisfaction levels by switching to different jobs and employers better suited to their needs. The effects of these improvements are especially visible for workers who switched jobs after the pandemic. Overall job satisfaction is 3.6 percentage points higher among those who have found a new job since the pandemic began compared to those who have not. Workers at their new job reported higher satisfaction in every comparable job component measured by TCB. Please see their table below. . The largest differences come in training programs (+16.4), bonus plans (+15.8), mental health benefits policy (+13.5), and promotion policy (+13.1).

Conflicting Data

Benefits firm MetLife, in its annual employee benefits report out in March, found that, while overall job satisfaction increased year over year to 69 percent in 2023 from 66 percent in 2022, job satisfaction registered its second-lowest score in a decade. MetLife also found that employees’ satisfaction with their benefits fell to 61 percent in 2023, down from 64 percent in 2022, reaching its lowest point in the past decade.

Gallup reported that employee engagement in 2022 needed a rebound in 2023. In 2022, employee engagement was at 32 percent while 18 percent were actively disengaged. This continues a trend that started in 2021 when employee engagement fell from 34 percent in 2020 to 32 percent in 2021. However, it’s important to understand that Gallup’s employee engagement survey is different from an employee satisfaction survey. Gallup measures employee engagement by asking random samples of the working population about specific workplace elements that link to many organizational outcomes, including profitability, productivity, customer service, retention, safety, and overall wellbeing. This is its Q12 survey. In large part it measures employees’ alignment to the company’s mission and goals and to their teams, and if they like their supervisor anddevelopment offered by the company.

An employee satisfaction survey is a questionnaire that measures the level of personnel satisfaction regarding the various components of a job. The purpose of the employee satisfaction survey is to provide actionable data to improve the employee experience. This includes the employee’s experience on the job, development opportunities, pay and benefits, work environment, hybrid working, supervision, and their overall level of satisfaction.

Gallup’s next annual employee engagement survey will not be released until the fall.

What to Make of Conflicting Data?

I have found The Conference Board’s report compelling for its research and its findings to improve work/life balance, workload, and the performance review processes, followed by the “experience of work” components that include health plans, bonus plans, and educational and job training programs for happier employees. MetLife’s benefits report emphasizes measuring benefits and pay more so than TCB. These are tougher measures that seldom hit high numbers. However, its report came out in early 2023 probably catching a slightly more dire mood in the workforce suspecting that a light recession is around the corner. Gallup captures employee engagement well, but it is fundamentally a different survey of the workforce.

If you want your workforce to be happier, I recommend focusing on TCB’s experience of work components and health plans, bonus plans, and educational and job training programs.

Victor Assad is the CEO of Victor Assad Strategic Human Resources Consulting and managing partner of InnovationOne, LLC. He works with organizations to transform HR and recruiting, implement remote work, and develop extraordinary leaders, teams, and innovation cultures. He is the author of the highly acclaimed book, Hack Recruiting: The Best of Empirical Research, Method and Process, and Digitization. He is quoted in business journals such as The Wall Street Journal, Workforce Management, and CEO Magazine. Subscribe to his weekly blogs at

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