A record share of American workers leave their jobs, in part thanks to a strong economy and one labor shortage.

Does this mean that Americans are unhappy with their workplace?

The answer seems to be yes, according to manyeconomists and otherobservers. This is the story of the Great Resignation, in which the workers are simply fed up with their current jobs and asking for something better.

The survey data I collected during the pandemic, as well as the results of social surveys from previous years, however, suggest that this is far from all. Rather than being motivated simply by dissatisfaction, it seems many of them are simply taking advantage of a strong economy to look around, while for others, the pandemic has made them consider their options. .

Are you satisfied?

the General social survey, a reputable national survey of American adults, asked workers what they thought about the quality of their working life since 2002.

There are actually three key types of questions that help us form an idea: the level of dissatisfaction with the current job, the intention to rotate, and the confidence in finding a new job.

Let’s start with dissatisfaction. the the question is: “Overall, are you satisfied with the work you do – would you say you are very satisfied, moderately satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied?

In 2002, around 12% of those surveyed said they were very or somewhat dissatisfied with their job, a figure that barely changed in subsequent surveys until 2018. In 2021, just over 16% said they weren’t satisfied – an increase, but not great. And on the other hand, just over 83% say they are moderately or very satisfied.

This means that overall, the vast majority of Americans – at least according to this survey – express moderate to high satisfaction with their jobs.

Looking for a change

Another important indicator is turnover intention. General Social Survey request:

“Taking everything into account, what is the likelihood that you will make a real effort to find a new job with another employer in the next year or so? Would you say very likely, somewhat likely, or not at all likely? “

My interpretation of a “very likely” answer to this question is that it signals an immediate interest in leaving their current job. In 2002, about 19% said they were very likely to try to find a new job soon. Over the years the part that said that has gone up and down a bit, but has remained very consistent.

Unfortunately, the survey hasn’t asked the question since 2018, so I partnered with polling firm Angus Reid Global to conduct two large national surveys of American workers in November 2020 and November 2021. One of the questions that I asked was the one on sales intentions. , although I extended the period they expected to look for a new job to two years.

As might be expected given the rising resignation rate, the share indicating they were very likely to seek a new position jumped. It rose to 26% in 2020 and 29% in November 2021.

While it’s likely my number is a bit high just because of the extended time horizon – two years instead of one – the increase is in line with the Great resignation story that workers are keen to find a better place to work.

But these two numbers – job satisfaction and employee turnover – reveal an interesting paradox: a greater proportion of people say they are considering quitting than they express dissatisfaction with their situation. Current job. There are several possibilities for which a worker could be satisfied with their job, while considering moving to another company. Maybe they’re looking for more status or reconsider their career, or maybe they are worried about possible layoffs.

Confidence in the job search

An additional theme in the Great resignation story do the workers feel more confident to find other job prospects – and that’s one of the reasons they quit en masse.

Fortunately, the General Social Survey asks that very question:

“How easy would it be for you to find a job with another employer with roughly the same income and benefits you have now – not at all easy, somewhat easy, or very easy?” “

Two years before the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2018, about a quarter of those polled said finding another job would be very easy. I asked the same question in my 2021 survey and found that this number had actually dropped to around 22%.

This means that workers’ confidence or optimism in finding another acceptable job has not increased so much, making it less likely to be a factor in the current wave of quits.

What is happening here?

While the data doesn’t show Americans overwhelmingly love their jobs or anything, it does suggest that most people love them enough to keep them.

Of course, this is not the end of the story. The data shows significant differences depending on the type of job we are talking about. For example, workers in the service sector were more dissatisfied with their jobs and much more likely to express their intention to quit than the average respondent.

But overall, the survey data does not support the common narrative that this is a “Take this job and do it”Economic, in which increasingly discontented workers finally stick it to their managers.

On the contrary, when you dig into the data, something different emerges: A slice of workers are still considering quitting their jobs – and as the job market looks brighter, the pent-up impulse to quit is felt. But the change in worker sentiment – or at least the way it has been portrayed – seems overdone.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here: https://theconversation.com/vast-majority-of-american-workers-like-their-jobs-even-as-a-record-number-quit-them-173564.


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