CNBC, via Today, reports that only 30% of Americans are engaged in their jobs, while a 52% of us dislike our jobs. One item of interest was the fact that companies, in order to retain talent and promote worker satisfaction, have been offering greater perks than in years past. The idea that having catered lunches, beer on tap, or in the case of Google, a company hockey rink was largely the brain child of Internet start ups during the late 90s and has continued ever since. It seems like a no brainer right, but it looks like these perks may be about as effective as cookies at the bank.
Despite all these new perks and attempts to encourage company loyalty. Millennials only stay at their current place of employment for a single years versus the company average of 4.4 years, and 4.4 years isn't exactly a long time when we compare it to the fact that having an entire career at one company wasn't uncommon that long ago. They report that even pay raises don't raise worker satisfaction at work. Why is that?
On the one hand, American workers are incredibly spoiled, though not nearly as spoiled as many of our cousins across the Atlantic, *cough* France *cough*, and Millennials are perhaps the most spoiled of the bunch. On the other hand, can you really totally blame us? The fact is that American workers work the 12th most hours out of all the OECD, the OECD contains 37 nations. While we don't approach the number of hours worked by longest working nation, despite all our jokes about Mexicans being lazy it turns out that the Mexicans outdo Korea, we work far longer than the Germans do. This would naturally beg the question on whether or not we are effectively utilizing productive technologies to the their fullest potential, Germany has done well for itself despite working fewer hours than even France which is probably a testament to Germany efficency, but the point is that Americans aren't the laziest people in the OECD by a large margin, so our worker dissatisfaction can't wholly be explained away by our being spoiled.
As a Millenial I feel I can give the answer for my generation, our jobs suck for the most part. By suck I mean they are brain dead jobs that were not the kind we imagined when we went to college. I know, we Millenials are spoiled, ungrateful, stupid, vacuous and don't appreciate working from the ground up. All those are true to an extent, but the truth is that the doors of opportunity have become very small windows, and the jobs many of us work, data entry for example, didn't require that we sign our lives away with college debt. Working from the ground up for Boomers meant starting as a bank teller, mail clerk or the like and they could be obtained without a degree. This is no longre true for Millenials. When you see sales positions requiring college degrees that should be a clear indication that something is wrong. For everyone else, including millenials, there is the added fact is that all the perks and talks about caring about your workers don't matter for shit if your management is inept or your corporate culture tyrannical.
The article states that companies that were best able to retain workers were ones that fostered culture were employees could voice their opinions and were rewarded for innovating. It seems like a no brainer but companies often stumble when transitioning from the talking about it to actually implementing it. One suggestion, which will drive the Captain crazy because he has ranted about this incessantly, is that the companies should utilize concepts like remote connectivity for workers more often.
It all makes sense but there is something that we all need to realize, why we work. Ultimately we work so that we can survive. Most of us aren't going to do jobs we love, hell I 95% of the time I hear that I want to say bullshit to their face. What we can do is take satisfaction from doing the job the best we can, and if it truly sucks, find ways to get a new job or retire to live the life we want to live.