Job satisfaction across UK drops to a two-year low

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Job satisfaction in the UK has dropped to its lowest level in two years, a new poll has revealed.

And people working in the private sector have shown the biggest slump in satisfaction at work.

Employees in all sectors say they are far less satisfied at work than previously and 24 per cent of people are actively or planning to look for a new job.

The survey of 2,000 workers by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development also found more than one in four were unhappy with opportunities to develop their skills or further their career.

Organisations were urged to rethink their approach to employee career management, in order to engage and retain staff after figures show an 8 per cent drop in satisfaction rates since the same survey in 2014.

Claire McCartney of the CIPD said: “This shows that our approaches to job design and career management have not kept pace with the rapidly changing world of work or with employee expectations.

“Although many organisations are flatter in structure and have adopted matrix ways of working, this can mean routes for career progression are not as clear. Despite wider global economic uncertainty, employers need to think of new ways to keep their employees engaged and committed.”

Employees in micro businesses have the highest levels of job satisfaction by size of organisation, but even they reported an increased frustration at work.

When asked why they were dissatisfied a fifth of employees believe their organisation’s performance management processes are unfair and 27 per cent are unhappy with the opportunity to develop their skills in their job.

Ms McCartney added: “Organisations need to redefine their approach to careers in the light of this new context in order to future-proof their workforce. They need to think about career growth in a more holistic way, rather than traditional, hierarchical progression, and instead give employees opportunities for a breadth of opportunities that maximise their skills.”

On a positive note, satisfaction with line managers rose 3 per cent on the same study two years previously.

Dominique Jones, chief people officer at Halogen Software, said: “Regular one-on-one conversations between line managers and employees can help improve employee engagement and satisfaction when used to identify new opportunities for employees to develop, ensure clarity on goals and expectations, and to provide employees coaching and feedback related to performance outcomes.”

The study also revealed slightly more employees are “satisfied” rather than “dissatisfied” with their current pay.