February 03, 2009 11:51 ET™ Annual Job Satisfaction Survey Results Show Impact of Economic Downturn and Underscore Challenge of Retaining Best Performers

Workers Now Looking for Job Security and Desirable Commute Over Friendly Relationships With Managers; Retention Strategies Are Critical for Employers, Even in a Challenging Economy

WALTHAM, MA--(Marketwire - February 3, 2009) -, Inc. (NASDAQ: SLRY), a leading provider of on-demand HRMS/payroll, compensation, and talent management solutions, today released results from its fourth annual 2008/2009 Employee Satisfaction and Retention Survey. According to the survey, employee satisfaction levels are often overestimated by employers. A set of questions new to this year's survey found that the current economic climate was less of a deterrent to job seeking than employers anticipated, while variables such as income, job level, industry and age remained consistent factors that affect job satisfaction year-over-year.

Key data points:

--  Overall, the survey showed that 65% of employees are at least somewhat
    satisfied in their jobs while employers estimated that figure to be 77%.
--  Approximately 65% of employees admitted to passively or actively
    looking for a new job, compared to employers' estimate of 37%.
--  While employers have a good sense of overall employee satisfaction,
    they often overestimate the degree of extremely satisfied employees nearly
    2 to 1.
--  The levels of satisfaction among employees surveyed varied by job
    level and salary. Not surprisingly, the results of the survey suggest there
    is a direct link between pay and satisfaction -- the higher the salary and
    job level, the greater the number of extremely satisfied employees.
--  Age affects job satisfaction -- millennials report the lowest job

More than 7,141 employees and 363 human resources (HR) professionals participated in the survey which revealed new insights into who is happy, who is looking, why employees stay, where employers may be off target in their efforts to retain employees and where they may be at risk when the economy recovers. The survey offers new insights to help employers align with what employees value and be more effective in designing retention strategies that work.

"The most interesting result from the 2008 survey was the evidence that employers were out of touch with their employees' satisfaction levels and were overestimating the tough economic environment as a deterrent to job seeking," said Nicholas Camelio, senior vice president of human resources, "Consequently, many employers have not placed enough emphasis on important retention strategies. This could lead to their best employees defecting during the next year, just when this talent will be most needed to help turn businesses around."

Job Searching Defies Economic Environment

Many employers believe that during tough economic times their employees will not be searching for a new job. According to the survey, employers are underestimating the number of employers searching for new jobs by nearly 2 to 1, revealing a potential blind spot for employers. The survey revealed that the majority of employees report they are looking and engaged in some form of search activity such as networking, surfing job listings, updating and posting their resume. Millennials are the most likely group to look for a job, followed closely by Gen X'ers and Baby Boomers. Industries including Financial Services, Construction and Retail topped the list of extremely dissatisfied employees, while Internet, Education/Government and Non-Profit, Software and Networking topped the list of extremely satisfied employees.

Key data points:

--  63% of employers believe their employees are not searching for a new
    job compared to 35% of employees who indicated they were not searching for
    a new job.
--  In fact, the survey indicates that 65% of employees are looking and
    are engaged in just-in-case job search activities, such as surfing jobs
    lists (63%), updating resumes (47%), networking with friends (40%) and
    posting resumes (33%).
--  Surfing job listings has increased dramatically -- up 17% from last
    year's results.
--  Nearly 80% of employers do not believe employees will begin a job
    search in next few months while nearly 60% of employees intend to intensify
    their job search in next 3 months.

Priorities Shift for Employees

Good Relationships with Co-Workers remains one of the top three reasons why people stay in their jobs. In this year's survey, employees cited new reasons why they choose to stay in their current jobs. Job Security, Desirable Commute and Desirable Hours have replaced Good Relationships with Managers and Adequate Benefits for the most influential reasons why people remain in a given job.

--  Top reasons to leave a job stayed same from last year's survey
    results:  Inadequate Compensation, Inadequate Development Opportunities and
    Insufficient Recognition.

2008/2009 Employee Job Satisfaction and Retention Survey Methodology invited a cross-section of individual employees and business representatives from across America to participate in its 2008/2009 Employee Satisfaction and Retention Survey. Prospective participants received an email containing the survey questionnaire. Participants completed as many sections of the survey as they desired, and then submitted their results to electronically. compensation professionals reviewed the data for consistency and accuracy and excluded data that appeared to be invalid. A total of 7,141 individuals and 363 human resource or other company representatives responded to the survey. Among the individual employee respondents, 6,812 were employed and provided valid responses to the survey questions -- the remaining 329 were excluded from all analysis.

Analysis included in this report utilized generational cuts compiled using the following classifications: Retirement Age (68+); About to Retire (58-67); Baby Boomers (44-57); Gen X (31-43) and Millennials (18-30).

Recipients of this report will find it impossible to discern the data contribution of any individual or company. Submissions were aggregated with data submitted by similar groups before results were calculated. Each numerical result reported in this document is based on data submitted by at least five (and often many more) separate respondents. This conservative approach is designed to protect participant confidentiality, and is consistent with the "Safe Harbor" guidelines adopted by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

About, Inc. is a leading provider of on-demand HRMS/payroll, compensation and talent management solutions helping businesses and individuals manage pay and performance.'s highly configurable software applications, proprietary data and consulting services help HR and compensation professionals automate, streamline and optimize critical talent management processes including: market pricing, compensation planning, performance management, competency management and succession planning. Built with compensation and competency data at the core, solutions provide businesses of all sizes with the most productive and cost-effective way to manage and inspire their most important asset -- their people. For more information, visit

Contact Information

  • Rob Halpin
    Version 2.0 Communications
    617-426-2222 X117
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