• Number of staff looking for new jobs ‘at highest level since 2013’

  • 6 May 2016
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Job satisfaction down significantly, says CIPD Employee Outlook, with lack of progression a key factor

The number of employees who are looking for a new job has reached a two-and-a-half year high, while job satisfaction is also at its lowest level in two years, a survey by the CIPD has revealed.

The CIPD/Halogen Employee Outlook, which surveyed more than 2,000 people, found that almost a quarter of employees are currently looking for a new job, up from 20 per cent in autumn 2015. This is the highest level since autumn 2013, when 24 per cent of respondents said they were job-seeking.  

Net job satisfaction has also decreased substantially since last autumn, from a net score of +48 to +40. Although job satisfaction was found to have dropped across all areas of the economy, the private sector fared worst, declining from +50 to +41.

Claire McCartney, research adviser for resourcing and talent planning at the CIPD, said: "There has been a big decrease in job satisfaction: it has been two-and-a-half years since it was last at this level. The wider global economic uncertainty will have had an impact, but some of the themes we are seeing coming though, such as a lack of career progression opportunities and development opportunities on the job, also affect job satisfaction."

In the survey employees were split over the statement 'this organisation really inspires the very best in me in the way of job performance', with 34 per cent disagreeing and 35 per cent agreeing.

While 33 per cent said their organisation can fulfil their career aspirations, 36 per cent said this is 'unlikely' or 'very unlikely'. And while 44 per cent believe their organisation provides opportunities to learn and grow, 30 per cent disagree.

There has also been an increase in the proportion of employees who believe they are over-qualified for their role, which now stands at a third compared to 29 per cent in autumn 2015. Women and part-time workers are most likely to feel over-qualified.

Another area of dissatisfaction for some is around performance management systems. While more than two-fifths of employees believe their organisation's approach to performance management is fair, almost a fifth said it is 'somewhat unfair' or 'very unfair'.

To help boost job satisfaction, McCartney said employers should focus on development and redefine their approaches to career progression. "They have to be more creative because often there aren't those traditional, hierarchical paths available within businesses. They have to ensure line managers are having regular one-to-one conversations about development, but also longer-term career conversations," she added.

Overall, the employees surveyed are happy with their line managers. Among the 80 per cent who said they report to a supervisor or line manager, satisfaction sat at +47 (up from +44 in autumn 2015).

Although the majority said their line managers treat them fairly (67 per cent), make clear what is expected of them (59 per cent) and are supportive if they have a problem (57 per cent), only 24 per cent said their line manager has coached them on the job, and relatively few discuss training and development needs (38 per cent) or act as a role model (34 per cent).

The survey also found that while employees are mostly aware of the purpose of their organisation (+70), far fewer are motivated by this key purpose (+28).  

"Satisfaction with line managers has increased and respondents were very positive in terms of some of the wellbeing areas that line managers tackle, but what they could do more of is coaching employees on the job and discussing their training and development needs. There is also a lack of motivation going on. Although staff have a good knowledge of their organisation's key purpose, fewer feel motivated by what the organisation is doing. Leaders could set a clearer vision and consult employees more," McCartney said.

When it comes to health and wellbeing, employees' ability to achieve a balance between work and home has remained stable over the last few years, although 37 per cent reported feeling under excessive pressure at least once a week.

Almost a third of employees (31 per cent) said they come home from work exhausted 'often' or 'always'. This was more likely in the private sector (22 per cent) than the public (17 per cent) and voluntary (14 per cent) sectors.

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  • Brilliant if not upsetting research. I believe the only way we can address this is through the quantity and quality of our leadership, throughout our organisations. We have to change the way we view leadership - stop seeing it as a top-down hierarchical approach. I believe there is an entrepreneur inside all of us. If we can help people connect with that part of themselves in a way that is aligned to the purpose of the organisation, then we can achieve amazing results and have great fun at the same time.

  • Very disappointing given how much attention leadership puts into creating more engaging working environments. As a training facilitator for Fortune 100 companies I see this first hand. My question is, do employees know how to love coming to work and how to create an engaging experience for themselves? I'm not sure they do. That is why I wrote, "Work It! Five Simple Steps to Loving Monday Mornings."