There is a level of job satisfaction for each person and each job performed. Problems occur when people are not happy with their jobs. In this lesson, we will look at causes for job dissatisfaction as well as employee responses.
Not everyone can be satisfied with their job. As a matter of fact, in a 2012 survey conducted by Right Management, 65% of individuals that were surveyed were either somewhat or totally unsatisfied with their jobs. Now, you might be thinking that this is a problem here in the U.S., but it is a worldwide problem. In a Mercer study of 30,000 workers worldwide, between 28% and 56% of workers around the globe wanted to leave their jobs.
With all these unhappy people, one would think there have to be causes that drive these high percentages. Additionally, one has to think about the reactions or responses from employees that do not have job satisfaction and how they act (or act out) on the job. When we are younger, we act out by pouting or stomping our feet - maybe even holding our breath - but it is important we understand how employees respond when they are not satisfied with their jobs. Understanding the responses helps companies to identify that discontent and hopefully address it before it goes too far.
Causes of Job Dissatisfaction
There are a number of specific causes for job dissatisfaction, but it is understood there are four main areas that reside in this issue. These areas are:
Being underpaid: Not being paid what you are worth is called being underpaid. This one issue is the most challenging one to work with because it can be driven by interpretation or perspective that is very personal or individually focused. If a person does not think they are being paid enough to do their job, then they perceive themselves to be underpaid - even if the wages they make are in line with that position. If they research the wages for that job (either on the Internet or by talking to others) and find they are indeed being underpaid, then their dissatisfaction is warranted.
In addition, they could see someone who does the same job they are doing driving a better car or living in a better house - and thus, perceive that person to be making more money. And so, once again, they believe they are underpaid. You see, unless you know what others are making or research the wages that are appropriate for a specific job function, then the dissatisfaction that comes from being underpaid is totally based on perception. From a company's perspective, it is a valuable and important perspective because individuals who are dissatisfied with the money they are making for the job they do will most likely leave the organization.
Limited career growth: Not having the opportunity to climb the ladder and grow your career is another area that can foster dissatisfaction with a position. For this aspect, it is important to understand that not everyone wants to move up the ladder. However, for those who do, if the company does not afford them the opportunity of growth, they will become disenchanted and become dissatisfied with their job. This could mean that the employee will potentially leave for another position that might have better career growth opportunities.
Lack of interest: A lack of interest is having a position that does not interest you. This is a very straightforward concept, but you might be wondering why anyone would take a job they were not interested in. Well, the first answer to that is typically money. People need to work and need jobs, so they might indeed take a position that does not interest them so they can pay the bills.
Another answer could be that sometimes what a person is told a job is in the interview process does not materialize. The old joke is the company and the prospective employee are all Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie during the interview process, but once the hiring is done, we can at times see the ugly side of a company or position and not want to stay.
Poor management: Not having the leadership required is another reason for dissatisfaction. People want to be led. They want to work with people who inspire them and have a vision. Without those people, an employee can feel as if the company is just drifting through space, waiting to run into something. If an employee is a structured and focused type of person, not having leadership is a killer and will certainly make them believe the company is not very serious. For this reason, an employee may grow dissatisfied with the company, if not the position.
Employee Responses to Dissatisfaction
When an employee is dissatisfied, they can respond in a number of ways:
Exit: They will leave the company and find other employment that better suits their needs.
Voice: They will become vocal about what needs to be changed and potentially work to change it.
Loyalty: Much like a golden retriever, they will be loyal. However, in the case of an employee, that loyalty is centered on waiting for those things to change and get better.
Neglect: The employee will begin to do less-than-good work, be absent more and potentially not care about the job they do. In this case, they really have given up and are just going through the motions, without much concern for their job or the company.
It is important to understand that a dissatisfied employee can exhibit any number of these responses. What I mean is they might start by being vocal, move to neglect, then move to exiting the company. They do not have to just pick one of these, but rather can work through one (or many) to show their response to being dissatisfied.
Job dissatisfaction is part of the business world and cannot be removed or ignored. Not everyone can be happy with their jobs, as our survey shows us. Whether dissatisfaction comes from feeling underpaid, limited career growth, poor management or lack of interest, the fact is that it is indeed present and needs to be identified in order for it to be dealt with.
Thus, if a company sees a lot of employees exiting the company, or starts to hear employees voice their concerns or finally, if they see neglect, they need to act, as these are telltale signs people are not satisfied with their jobs. While not every case of dissatisfaction can be remedied, if a company keeps an eye out for these responses and acts on them when they see them, they can potentially become a better organization.
At the end of this lesson, you should be able to:
- Define job dissatisfaction
- List some of the most common reasons that an employee may experience job dissatisfaction
- Describe how an employee may respond to being dissatisfied