SHRM Survey: Equity and Openness Are Key Contributors to Job Satisfaction; Employee Job Satisfaction Remains High

April 24, 2017

Press briefing: Evren Esen, SHRM director of workforce analytics, will be available during a press briefing from 1:45 p.m.-2:15 p.m. Eastern time today, April 24, via conference call. Contact SHRM Media Affairs at for instructions on how to connect to the call.

CHICAGO, April 24, 2017 —  Job satisfaction remains high with 89 percent of employees saying they were satisfied overall with their jobs (38 percent reported being very satisfied, and 51 percent somewhat satisfied), according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) annual Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement Survey.

Similar levels of employee job satisfaction have been observed in recent years with a combined 86 percent of survey respondents reporting satisfaction in the survey released in 2015 and 88 percent in the report released in 2016.

For the third year in a row, the largest percentage of employees (65 percent) indicated that respectful treatment of all employees at all levels was a very important contributor to their job satisfaction.

However, this aspect reflected several differences among demographic groups in the workplace:

  • Female employees (72 percent) were more likely to report this aspect as a very important contributor to job satisfaction than male employees (57 percent).
  • A greater proportion of Millennials (45 percent) were very satisfied with this aspect compared with Generation Xers (31 percent).
  • Individual contributors (31percent) were less likely to be very satisfied with the level of respect shown to all employees compared with executives (52 percent).  

Other top contributors to job satisfaction were compensation/pay; trust between employees and senior management; job security; and opportunities to use skills and abilities.

"Fairness and transparency are significant themes that repeatedly appeared throughout the top job satisfaction contributors and employee engagement," said Evren Esen, SHRM director of workforce analytics. "This indicates the importance of these concepts when creating a workplace culture that thrives and inspires continuous success."

Even as overall satisfaction is high, there are gaps between what employees consider important and their levels of satisfaction. 

The largest discrepancy between importance and satisfaction was found in compensation (35 percentage points). Furthermore, the survey findings indicate that raises given to employees were consistent with those in previous years, however, there was a 9-percentage-point drop in the workers receiving bonuses compared with the year before.

The survey findings also indicate that while trust between employees and senior management is gaining importance, (increasing 6 percentage points compared with percentages in 2015) there is a gap of 28 percentage points between importance and satisfaction. Sixty-one percent of employees rated trust between them and their senior management as very important to job satisfaction. However, only 33 percent were very satisfied with the level of trust in their organizations.

Finally, despite a relatively high level of job satisfaction, 40 percent of employees reported (to some degree) the possibility of seeking employment outside of their current organization within the next 12 months. The leading reason for employees looking for external positions was higher compensation/pay, followed by better benefits, more job security and additional career advancement opportunities.

Methodology:  The SHRM Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement Survey polled 600 randomly selected U.S. employees in December 2016. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5% percentage points.

View the executive summary here.

Media: For more information or for more instructions on how connect to the press briefing, contact Vanessa Hill at and 703-535-6072 or Kate Kennedy at and 703-535-6260.

About the Society for Human Resource Management 

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world's largest HR professional society, representing about 285,000 members in more than 165 countries. For nearly seven decades, the Society has been a leading provider of resources serving the needs of HR professionals and advancing the practice of human resource management. SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China, India and United Arab Emirates.Visit SHRM Online at and follow us on Twitter @SHRMPress.




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