Industry News | March 10, 2011

Salary the No. 1 Contributor to Employee Dissatisfaction

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According to a recent study, nearly 50 percent of American workers have considered leaving their jobs, and salary is the No. 1 factor contributing to employee dissatisfaction.

The study, which was conducted by market research firm MarketTools Inc., found that 47 percent of workers dissatisfied with their jobs said it was because of their salary.

Justin Schuster, vice president of enterprise products at MarketTools, says the increasing availability of jobs means employers must focus on satisfying their employees so they don’t have to pay the steep costs of employee turnover.

“Whereas individuals might have previously been happier to stay in a situation that was less than ideal from their perspective, as the economy improves their odds [of getting jobs] are increasing, and it’s the right time for companies to again focus on employee retention,” Schuster says.

The No. 2 contributor to employee dissatisfaction was workload at 24 percent, followed by opportunity for advancement or career development (21 percent), manager or supervisor (21 percent), and medical benefits (20 percent).

The study, which surveyed workers from several different industries, also found that 21 percent of employees had applied for another job in the last six months.

Schuster says employee feedback programs are a great way to gauge the satisfaction of employees and act on anything that might be causing unhappiness.

But the MarketTools study found that 72 percent of the employees’ workplaces did not have a regular feedback program in place. Of those that did, 29 percent were just once a year, 13 percent were twice a year, and 17 percent were quarterly.

“By having that hard data at their fingertips, employers can really prioritize where they put their attention and where they invest, and whether they have the right programs and benefits in place to keep employees in the organization,” Schuster says.

By Sam Oches

News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by QSR, Food News Media, or Journalistic, Inc.


With all due respect, we have never found that salary is major reason for leaving one's job. Now it is true that most employees say they are dissatisfied with their salary, but that does not necessarily translate into leaving a job. In the thousands of employee surveys we have done, it is the intangibles employees are most dissatified with, not their salary. As seen so many times in Undercover Boss, supervisors and management need to understand, communciate, and interact with their employees, and none of these cost money to repair.

We must admit you exhibit deep thought when you utilize a television show as your source. Maybe you can follow up with a couple of Twitter references.

Don't discount the results of this survey. It is true that employees typically leave because of their supervisors, not pay. But these are not typical times. A healthy-percentage of workers have had direct or indirect (reduced work hours, lower tips) wage reductions since 2008. Add to that increased responsibilities as they pick up the work once completed by their laid-off coworkers. And, as the economy improves, they are faced with still more workload as employers attempt to increase sales without adding workers. Additional studies have shown that up to 65 percent of the workforce is fed up and ready to leave as the economy improves. Other studies show that a percentage of workers feel betrayed because they are seeing top managers take bonuses while workers are left with paychecks that don't cover the bills. Food prices have gone up 20 percent recently after earlier increases. Gas is nearing $4/gal. If pay dissatisfaction is not the number-one problem it is very close to the top; especially when considering other internal and external factors. The economy is improving and 21 percent could be just the tip of the iceberg. Good luck to employers who they can talk (communicate) their way out of this.

Of course salary is a major reason for leaving a job. As a manger, I've always had a good laugh over consultants' survey results placing salary toward the bottom of lists of things bringing job satisfaction to employees. As many employees have stated to me, it's not the intangibles that put food on their tables. I find it interesting that many of us higher level managers, satisfied with our jobs and making relatively large salaries, jump from company to company in pursuit of even higher salaries. Yet, we are suppose to believe our employees don't have the same great desire for more money.

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