SHRM Survey: Employees Say Recession Not Reducing Overall Job Satisfaction in 2009

Jun 29, 2009

SHRM Survey: Employees Say Recession Not Reducing Overall Job Satisfaction in 2009

NEW ORLEANS − The majority of employees (58 percent) report the current economy has no effect on their overall job satisfaction, according to the 2009 Job Satisfaction Survey, released yesterday by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) at its 61st Annual Conference and Exposition in New Orleans.

Employees at organizations “somewhat affected” by the recession are more likely to be satisfied than employees at organizations that have been “greatly impacted” by the economy. More than 40 percent of those surveyed said they are “very satisfied” with their jobs and 45 percent are “somewhat satisfied.”

“Although employees say the weak economy has no negative impact on overall job satisfaction, the recession is the reason why job security is the top ranked factor to workplace satisfaction among HR professionals and employees in 2009,” said SHRM President and CEO Laurence G. O’Neil. “Job security is the number one aspect of job satisfaction this year, topping benefits, compensation, and feeling safe at work.”

Specifically, human resource professionals (72 percent) and employees (63 percent) place job security at the top of the “very important” aspects of job satisfaction. HR professionals and employees, however, rank other top aspects differently, such as benefits, compensation pay, feeling safe at work, and job performance recognition.

Employees’ Top 5

HR Professionals’ Top 5

1. Job security (63 %)

1. Job security / relationship with supervisor (72%)

2. Benefits (60%)

2. Benefits (69%)

3. Compensation pay (57%)

3. Communication between employees and senior management (66%)

4. Opportunities to use skills and abilities (55%)

4. Opportunities to use skills and abilities (62%)

5. Feeling safe at work (54%)

5.Management recognition of employee job performance (61%)

Other key findings in SHRM’s 2009 Job Satisfaction Survey include:

  • Employees view health care and medical benefits (64 percent) as more valuable than paid time off (58 percent), defined contribution plans (41 percent), defined benefit pension plans (39 percent), and family-friendly benefits (29 percent).
  • Regarding benefits, both HR professionals (82 percent) and employees (64 percent) rank first health care/medical benefits the most important to job satisfaction.
  • Employees with longer tenure at organizations rank benefits, such as defined contribution plans and defined benefit pension plans, as more important to job satisfaction than do employees with shorter tenure.
  • More females report paid time off, the relationship with the immediate boss and co-workers, and flexibility to balance work and life issues as being important to job satisfaction than men do.
  • Employees 35 years old and younger said family-friendly benefits were more important than did employees age 56 and older.
  • Career development and networking opportunities, paid training and reimbursement programs, meaningfulness of job, and an organization’s commitment to a green workplace were among the job satisfaction aspects that were least in importance to employees between 2008 and 2009.

The survey, published annually by SHRM since 2002, gathers information on 24 aspects of employee job satisfaction, divided into four key topics: career development; relationship with management; compensation and benefits; and work environment. The 2009 survey highlights responses from 550 randomly selected HR professional who are members of SHRM.

To read this and other SHRM surveys, please visit:


About the Society for Human Resource Management

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 250,000 members in over 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China and India. Visit SHRM Online at


Job Finder

Find an HR Job Near You
Post a Job


Find the Right Vendor for Your HR Needs

SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 10,000 companies

Search & Connect