A lot of working Americans are channeling the Stones these days, telling The Conference Board that they can’t get no satisfaction. According to the org’s latest survey, 55% of Americans – across all incomes and age brackets – are unsatisfied with their jobs.

Worse, a less scientific but just as startling MSNBC.com poll finds nearly a third of respondents (32%) say they are “not satisfied [with their job] and want a new one.” A quick scroll of the comments uncovers gems like this: “I work for a small firm owned by vapid narcissists with no regard for the aspirations of those who make their opulent lifestyle possible,” and “The only satisfaction I have is that I have a job and a place to go everyday.”

"While one in 10 Americans is now unemployed, their working compatriots of all ages and incomes continue to grow increasingly unhappy," says TCB’s Lynn Franco. "Through both economic boom and bust during the past two decades, our job satisfaction numbers have shown a consistent downward trend."

We interrupt this blog post to bring you a GIANT RED FLAG. According to Franco, job satisfaction has been falling for 20 years – even when the economy has been good. Which unfortunately means, it’s not the economy. It’s you, or at least your company.


And as if she were reading my mind, Franco says: "The downward trend in job satisfaction could spell trouble for the overall engagement of U.S. employees and ultimately employee productivity.”

The drop in job satisfaction between 1987 and 2009 covers all categories in the survey, from interest in work (down 18.9 percentage points) to job security (down 17.5 percentage points) and crosses all four of the key drivers of employee engagement: job design, organizational health, managerial quality and extrinsic rewards.

Double yikes.

And here’s the yikes hat trick: TCB reports 22% of respondents said they don’t expect to be in their current job in a year.

So, pros, you’ve got some work to do – and fast. I know we’re all worried about the bottom line, and mandates and proposed changes to health care and wellness programs likely won’t help. But if more than a fifth of the workforce is looking to head for the exit – taking their talents and expertise with them – it won’t much matter what mandates you have to follow.

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