One-half of employees say job is unrewarding, saps energy: Survey

Increasing pressure, fewer staff contributing to poor morale

One-half (49 per cent) of employees say their job is unrewarding and saps their energy, according to a new survey by Right Management.

“The survey findings are like a barometer that tells us something about the mood in today’s workplace,” said Jeff Gerkin, Canada general manager for Right Management. “Employees are clearly in a grumpy mood, a trend we’ve tracked for more than a year. In better times we probably would have found just a minority complain that their energy is being sapped and so forth, but now it is almost a majority of employed North Americans who seem to be unhappy.”

Only one in five said their job is rewarding and gratifying and 30 per cent said they just want to enjoy their lives and that is why they work, found the survey of 438 workers in Canada and the United States.

The prevailing bad mood is related to workplace pressures that were building for the past three years, said Gerkin. Fewer workers feel they can step away from their desk for a lunch break or take all their vacation days. Many also feel trapped in their job or resent that they’re expected to respond to work emails on the weekend, he said.

With leaner staff and bigger workloads, morale is down at most organizations, said Gerkin.

Unfortunately, the widespread disaffection stems from factors largely beyond the control of most employers.

“The job market is sluggish, job mobility is down, businesses aren’t expanding fast enough, yet every day the job has to get done,” said Gerkin. “The good news, I suppose, is that so many workers are nevertheless engaged and productive, despite the pressures they face.”

Employers should develop proactive strategies to engage people in their work, such as simply acknowledging that times are difficult or having a sophisticated engagement strategy, he said.

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