The millennials or the Gen Y population are driven by the idea of a “dream” job, one we are passionate about and are happy at. Who can forget the golden words of Confucius, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” However, various research and surveys show that majority of us are dissatisfied and frustrated by our jobs.
How did we end up here with such a low job satisfaction?
In India, 60% of the employees are not satisfied with their job, while 80% are looking to change their jobs, according to TimesJobs’ Job Satisfaction Survey 2016. Compared to the results of last year, there has been an increase in job dissatisfaction. The level of job satisfaction also differs according to gender, men being more dissatisfied by 20%. The survey cites various factors that play a major role in determining an employee’s level of satisfaction. These include work-life balance, salary, job security, company’s success, and challenging and rewarding work.
Now, employees are not just driven by money. Everyone seeks meaningful work which optimizes his/her career and leaves room for a proper work-life balance.
The era of ‘Continuous Candidates’
Manpower Group Solutions, an initiative of ManpowerGroup, conducted a global survey which revealed that one in three employees are ‘Continuous Candidates’ who are always looking for their next job. The report found that globally 37% of the workers fall into this category with the majority belonging to the age group of 18-34 (millennials).
Millennials are always on the lookout, wishing to “move on and move up”. Their primary motivation is money and career security. “They have lower job satisfaction; they are twice as likely to express dissatisfaction with their jobs,” says the report.
This group of career-oriented Gen Y employees see their present jobs as a means to an end and job hopping lets them reach that end.
Job dissatisfaction explained by “The Burnout Theory”
Job dissatisfaction is not just a modern phenomenon. In 1996, Christina Maslach, a psychology professor at the University of Berkeley conducted an intensive research about job burnout and came up with the Maslach Burnout Inventory. She identified three syndromes which characterised staff burnout, which are emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment. Maslach saw this burnout as a “psychological syndrome” which dehumanized an individual and made him/her have a negative outlook. Once an employee is emotionally exhausted, it is but natural for the willingness to do work to decline.
When staff burnout occurs, employees experience adverse effects on health making them susceptible to illnesses. There is decreased morale, increased use of alcohol or drugs, reduced quality of service and eventually job dissatisfaction.
The complex problem of staff burnout has been analysed from different perspectives by various researchers. Maslach’s work is considered as the pioneering work in burnout theory and is often used as a research manual by others.
Causes as per “The Two Factor Theory”
In 1959, psychologist Frederick Herzberg came up with the two-factor theory which saw job satisfaction and dissatisfaction as two separate aspects independent of one another. According to it, employees are not just looking for the satisfaction of monetary needs but also look for the fulfilment of psychological needs.
The Two Factors:
Herzberg came up with two factors, the presence of one leads to satisfaction at work while the presence of other factors prevent dissatisfaction. Thus, lack of job satisfaction doesn’t necessarily mean job dissatisfaction.
- Motivational Factors- These factors are not motivators but, help lead to positive satisfaction. These consist of recognition, responsibility, meaningful work, sense of achievement, involvement in decision making, growth and promotional opportunities.
- Hygiene Factors- These factors do not directly lead to satisfaction in the workplace but their absence will lead to job dissatisfaction. These are physiological needs which keep the employee from being dissatisfied. Some are, pay, job security, flexible company policies, benefits like health benefits, good working conditions, status, and interpersonal relations. They work as incentives to keep the employee working.
In India, BPOs are one of the most thriving industry. Since their initiation in the 90s, this industry has only grown. They have a huge workforce where employees are working 24X7. Compared to other technical and professional areas of work, the work of a BPO employee is relatively easy. However, even employees of this industry go through job dissatisfaction.
The BPO industries manage to fulfil the hygiene factors of good pay, interpersonal relations and benefits but they fall behind in fulfilling the motivational factors. Like many Indian companies, BPOs too fails to provide stimulating and rewarding work. When motivational factors are missing, employee’s skills are not utilized to the maximum. This also affects their quality of work.
Lack of job satisfaction is a problem that is faced by many, worldwide. Many times it doesn’t remain confined to the workplace but has other ramifications as well. It affects one’s physical and mental health, leading to lack of sleep and depression. At times, some of these health-related problems might not even show up till your 40s.
Companies and also individuals themselves need to work towards decreasing job dissatisfaction. There could be better company policies and there is also a need to conduct regular surveys to keep a check. Only when both the motivational and hygiene factors are present, will there be a perfect balance.