Job satisfaction falls with lack of career progression a major factor

Job satisfaction in the UK has dropped to its lowest level for over two years and job-seeking intentions have risen to almost a quarter of employees – a two and a half year high, according to a report.

The latest CIPD/Halogen Employee Outlook report, which surveyed over 2,000 UK employees in February and March 2016, found that job satisfaction has fallen across all sectors, but particularly in the private sector. Employees in micro businesses have the highest levels of job satisfaction by size of organisation, but even they are experiencing a fall in job satisfaction.

The survey finds that a rising number of employees – almost a fifth – believe their organisation’s performance management processes are unfair. Over a quarter are dissatisfied with the opportunity to develop their skills in their job and this is reflected in the number of employees who say they are unlikely to fulfil their career aspirations in their current organisation, which has also risen.

Claire McCartney, research adviser for resourcing and talent planning at the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, says: “Today’s research shows that our approaches to job design and career management have not kept pace with the rapidly changing world of work or with employee expectations. Although many organisations are flatter in structure and have adopted matrix ways of working, this can mean routes for career progression are not as clear. Despite wider global economic uncertainty, employers need to think of new ways to keep their employees engaged and committed.

“Organisations therefore need to redefine their approach to careers in the light of this new context in order to future-proof their workforce. They need to think about career growth in a more holistic way, rather than traditional, hierarchical progression, and instead give employees opportunities for a breadth of diverse experiences and opportunities that maximise their skills and their employability going forward.”

The survey also reveals that net satisfaction with line managers has risen, with employees in the voluntary sector being the most satisfied with their managers, followed by those in the public sector. Employees are on the whole happy with the support they get from managers, but are less happy with the level of coaching and feedback they receive and support for training and development.

McCartney adds: “It’s really positive to see overall satisfaction with line managers increasing in this survey, and the findings point to the importance of quality communication and consultation between employees and line managers. However, although line managers are committing themselves to their duty of care and employee welfare, it seems they aren’t hitting the mark in terms of helping that individual develop and progress. With subsequent gaps in active management, learning and development, it’s not surprising that people are dissatisfied with their jobs and looking for new opportunities elsewhere.”

The survey also found more employees are satisfied than dissatisfied with their current level of pay;
almost a third of employees say they come home from work exhausted either often or always; employee knowledge of organisational core purpose is very high, but the number of employees that are highly motivated by their organisation’s core purpose is much lower; employees are most likely to say that work makes them feel ‘cheerful’ most or all of the time as opposed to any other feeling. This is followed jointly by ‘optimistic’ and ‘stressed’, with 18% respectively saying work makes them feel this way most or all of the time.

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