Obviously, the current global economic recession has played a huge part in it. A lot of people have been laid off from their regular jobs, and have taken up work that pays less, or have taken a pay cut in their current jobs. However, it is important to note that overall job satisfaction has been consistently going down over the past two decades.
Making Ends Meet
One reason for this is the overwhelming feeling of stagnancy and the diminishing purchasing power of people. Since 2000, household income has remained more or less stagnant when adjusted for inflation, along with the additional burden of health care costs. To make ends meet, people take up less satisfying jobs that offer more pay. The concept of wage differentials explains that less desirable jobs will pay more just to get people to accept such jobs. Various studies in the field of job satisfaction have revealed that having financial returns as a primary goal leads to overall job discontent.
The rise of the so called “uber-class” has also contributed significantly to the issue of widespread job dissatisfaction, as it has had an impact on costs and ambitions of the other classes. To give you an idea of the skewed income distribution, 48.5% of all reported income in 2005 was earned by the top 10% of population. 22% of all reported income was in the hands of top1% of population!
This leads to peer-pressure for people who are not quite uber-class. Because of this, they take jobs with high pay and low satisfaction, and end up loathing their jobs as they just don’t feel connected with the work they do.
The segmented and specialized nature of most workplaces also adds to this feeling of disconnection. Companies hire more employees that do fragmented tasks, without having proper knowledge about the end result, or the end users. As more companies begin to outsource their work, or take on more international work, this issue has only compounded further.
Also, with the movement towards decentralization of power, employees are also tasked with generating new idea for the company. While this is great for autonomy and the ability to contribute, not knowing your precise job responsibilities can be burden for many.
Additionally, as this becomes a common trend, supervisors these days give much less credit to such work, as it is supposed to be a part of employees’ job responsibilities and expected performance. This is especially demoralizing for younger workers, as the expected rewards and recognition does not arrive.