A new survey from Right Management unveiled a troubling statistic: 66 percent of employees are unhappy at work. Of these, 44 percent of respondents indicated that they were "unsatisfied" with their job, while 21 percent were only "somewhat satisfied." What factors are driving so many to dislike their employment experience?
We all know some of the obvious reasons an employee might be disengaged at work, such as ineffective leadership, poor pay, inadequate benefits, high stress and lack of advancement opportunities. A sampling of news headlines from the last week, however, reveals a few less-obvious reasons that unhappy workers are on the rise.
- Bullies. Some 14 million Americans are the target of workplace bullies. Such bullies might abuse power to sabotage, intimidate, gossip about, verbally abuse or sabotage their coworkers. Their missives might also cross the line into harassment by focusing on the target’s race, sexual identity or gender.
- Reduced benefits. A poll by the Los Angeles Times in conjunction with the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences found that 14 percent of the 1,002 respondents personally experienced reduced workplace benefits like sick leave, vacation or health coverage, while another 42 percent revealed that they or someone they knew had. This might manifest itself in higher copays or less paid time off.
- Ageism. Research indicates that unemployed workers over the age of 55 have more trouble finding a job than unemployed workers between 25 and 55. And older workers who have jobs might be passed over for promotions for which they are well qualified due to ageism and workplace bias.
- Social media spying. Research firm Gartner predicts that by 2015, over 60 percent of corporations will keep tabs on employees’ personal social media use. Gartner’s vice president of research Andrew Walls cautions that this likely won’t constitute employers asking for Facebook login credentials; instead, these activities will be more relevant to the business. “Although that particular practice [of asking for Facebook login information] will gradually fade, employers will continue to pursue greater visibility of social media conversations held by employees, customers and the general public when the topics are of interest to the corporation.”
- Flex work. Say what? Many workers clamor for flexible working schedules, but a recent UK study found that 27 percent of respondents between the ages of 45 and 54 felt that such rules discriminated against older workers without young children. (It’s worth noting that in the U.K., employees with children under 17 have a statutory right to request that their employers grant them flexible schedules. Workers who either have children over 17 or are childless cannot ask for flexible schedules.) The workplace conflict some U.K. employees are experiencing could also be manifesting itself stateside as companies increasingly grant flex schedules to working parents.