Job satisfaction has been overtaken in importance by employee engagement as workers look to develop their careers, according to a study.
Employers should look to ensure their staff fit the jobs they are in to stand a better chance of their best talent staying with them for longer, two psychologists involved with the study told Recruiter.
Ilke Inceoglu and Moyang Yang, of psychometric testing company SHL, spent almost three years collecting data on employees’ preferred job features and their actual job features, with 38 choices, including income, fairness and quality of social contact, listed.
As well as preferred job features and actual job features, ‘mismatches’ were also taken into account – differences between what employees want and what they have. Career progression topped this list.
The highest-ranked preferred choice, out of about 3,000 responses to an online survey, was career development, whereas respondents actually found that quality of social contact was their highest-placed job feature in reality.
Income only just entered the top 10 as a preferred job feature, coming ninth in the table, but it came second in the mismatches table, showing there is a still a big pay gap in terms of what workers want and what they actually have.
Inceoglu said that employee engagement has now become a key: “Job satisfaction has been superseded by engagement because that shows links to performance.”
That fact alone should be enough to tell employers the importance of keeping their staff engaged, she added: “Long-term consequences could be that once there is an upturn in the economy then those staff who feel disengaged might take the opportunity to leave.”
However, career progression does not even appear in the top 10 of preferred job features for those aged over 45, showing that older workers may feel they have already achieved much over the course of their careers.
Yang said that giving candidates the opportunity to assess potential jobs to gauge the possibility of career development would help ensure that a candidate was the correct ‘fit’ for a job.