American workers are feeling increasingly content with their jobs after many quit and switched to new roles better suited for them throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
Job satisfaction rose in 2021 and 2022 — according to a report from the Conference Board — and last year hit the highest level since the organization began conducting its survey nearly three decades ago.
It comes after a record-setting number of people left their jobs in the U.S. in 2021 — nearly 48 million — then again in 2022, when about 50 million people quit, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Workers who found new jobs since the pandemic began said they were more satisfied than those who stayed in their roles, the survey found, which included responses from over 1,500 U.S. workers collected in November.
They cited better work-life balance and more favorable workloads in particular, as the pandemic and remote work blurred the lines between home and office life.
Linkedin has seen a 154% increase in job listings globally mentioning work-life balance in entry-level positions, and those jobs get nearly three times more views and twice as many applications as they did two years ago, George Anders, senior editor at large at Linkedin, said in an email.
Other factors like company culture, in general, are also playing a bigger role in job decisions for American workers.
“Once compensation is competitive, it becomes the quality of leadership, the organizational culture, and work-life balance that really drive job satisfaction and retention,” Allan Schweyer, principal researcher for human capital at the Conference Board, said.
Hybrid workers are the happiest
After going remote for the first years of the pandemic, employers have slowly begun bringing employees back into offices. Many have adopted hybrid arrangements, with workers returning for a few days a week while working the rest of the time from home.
Looking at different working arrangements, hybrid employees were significantly more satisfied in their roles than fully-remote and fully-onsite workers, the survey found.
Hybrid employees were much more satisfied with their employers’ quality of leadership, organizational culture and potential for future growth than other workers — key factors driving retention. They also cited higher interest in their work.
The findings suggest that “when people live within a commuting distance, coming into the office for at least a few days a week is probably very good for the organization and pretty good for the employees,” Schweyer said.
On Linkedin, remote and hybrid job listings have declined over the past year but continue attracting more than half of job applications on the platform.
Some 66% of applications on Linkedin are being submitted to jobs offering the option to work from home partially or full-time, according to the platform.
What about recent layoffs and job security?
Workers felt greater job security in 2021 than in 2022, the survey found, though they were asked in November, just before waves of layoffs began.
Layoffs have mostly been concentrated in the tech sector, among the likes of Amazon, Microsoft and Google to name a few.
Those job losses represent a small part of the entire U.S. workforce, and “when you see job losses in more industries, when it’s more widespread, we expect declines in job satisfaction,” Selcuk Eren, senior economist for labor markets at the Conference Board said.
That will likely start happening between July and September this year as a recession continues unfolding, Eren said.