Why are so many of us unsatisfied in our jobs?

job satisfaction

With unemployment at its lowest since 1975, you would probably think job satisfaction is now at its highest, right?

Think again, just last year a survey carried out by CIPD found that job satisfaction had plummeted, but why, and if so, why are people so fearful of taking on a new career?  

For many, one hundred percent job satisfaction almost seems like a myth. This can be down to many different factors; the commute, the management/people you work with, career progression, and salary to name a few.

It has recently been announced that rail fares are to rise by up to 3.6 per cent, and there’s no doubt that this will hit commuters the hardest. With job opportunities growing in major cities like London, Birmingham and Manchester, but house prices rising, it is often a case of people living outside the city centre and commuting in.

However, for someone that lives in, lets say, Colchester, Essex, and works in central London, an annual train ticket costs roughly £6,000. With the 3.6 per cent rise they’re looking at an extra £216 per year, and when you think that you could take a trip to Amsterdam for a long weekend, flights and hotel for £200, it’s no wonder people lose job satisfaction.

The findings of a study in 2014 from the Office for National Statistics also showed how the journey time to and from work could affect happiness. It found that each additional minute of commuting time made you feel slightly worse up to a certain point.

Salary is a basic driver for most people, so they often tend to decide whether their pay is fair or not in either absolute or relative terms. So for example if you work out that your wages are barely covering the basic cost of living i.e. rent, energy, food, and travel; it is likely people will begin to feel underwhelmed/lose job satisfaction in absolute terms.

Another trend that people tend to follow is comparing what they get to others, meaning a bitter sense of injustice is likely to grow. Think about it, it is announced that Bill Gates donated 5 per cent of his fortune, totalling at £4.6bn and still remains the richest man in the world. Those then lucky enough to get a 5 per cent pay increase suddenly feel dissatisfied with their end of the bargain.

According to CIPD another reason for a lack of job satisfaction is bad management.  The emotional conditions of a workplace are a huge factor for whether employees are likely to stay for a long period of time. Poor management and lack of support from an employer are common reasons that individuals start looking for a new job.

People like to feel appreciated and valued in what they do, and when you spend the majority of your time at work, it’s surprising how many people are undervalued in the work place. Praising someone for his or her successes may seem simple, however it is often forgotten.

Career progression is a huge factor for people that want full job satisfaction. It is likely that someone will look for a new experience or opportunity if they are standing still for too long.  Of course, everyone wants to do the best physically possible in their life and if they can’t see their career progressing in the near future, it’s highly likely that one may become disinterested and dissatisfied, thus choosing to look for somewhere else.

As an employee, you’re going to want to find a role that gives you 100 per cent job satisfaction. If you feel like you’ve been playing it too safe for too long, or alternatively, would like to take a risk – why not search for your ideal job now?

Darren Diamond, CEO of DYWAJ