Salary is by far the leading cause of employee dissatisfaction among U.S. workers, cited by 47% of respondents in a recent Market Tool Inc. survey. Other leading causes include workload (24%), lack of opportunities for advancement (21%) and the employee’s manager or supervisor (21%). It is important to note that a strong correlation exists between employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction and, ultimately, a company’s revenue and profitability.
But how can this be? If low salary is the source of dissatisfaction, wouldn’t more money be therefore the source of greater satisfaction? Yet for years experts (and that includes me) have preached that money was not the source of employee satisfaction. Have we all been wrong or is the survey flawed?
The economy has changed employees’ attitudes. In the last 2 years, employees have faced frozen salaries and pay cuts along with increases to the cost of health benefits. At the same time other costs have steadily increased as their wages decreased (gas, fuel, clothing, etc). This has led to widespread employee dissatisfaction and a focus on pay.
There will be pressure for employers to respond–something they have been able avoid with high unemployment. In fact, employers have seen that even with reduced workers and depressed pay they have still enjoyed productivity gains over the past 2 years. The tide is now changing. As the economy improves, employees will begin to search for greener pastures. Watch for turnover to increase. Employers will in turn respond with wage adjustments and a new cycle will emerge. We are experiencing interesting times.