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How Happy are U.S. Employees?

Workers report higher job satisfaction now than in the past decade, with 51% of U.S. employees saying that they are happy with their current position, and 38% claiming extreme satisfaction. Despite this upwards trend, however, millions of U.S. employees feel disengaged at their job. More than half of the American workforce doesn’t feel enthused by their work, which costs businesses between $450 and $550 billion each year.
The most important factor in an employee’s happiness on the job is a safe and enjoyable work environment. 65% of American workers believe that respectful treatment of employees on all levels is the most critical factor to job satisfaction, with interdepartmental trust and overall compensation following as close seconds. While workplace culture is important, it isn’t the only thing driving employee satisfaction. High compensation and cordial work relations don’t always translate into happy employees. In 2017, there are certain job titles and major cities that tend to produce the most satisfied, productive workers nationwide.
The Top Jobs
No matter how friendly a work environment is, employees are bound to be happier if they take pride and pleasure in their day-to-day responsibilities. Although many employees do not enjoy their current jobs, individuals who are fortunate enough to land a position in a field that they enjoy usually report high levels of job satisfaction. Most workers prefer jobs that are interesting, challenging, and offer a decent compensation, though such a job isn’t always easy to land. Based on employee reviews, the most satisfying jobs of 2017 include:
  1. Marketing Specialist: Average annual salary of $52,075
  2. Recruiter: Average annual salary of $57,019
  3. Graduate Teaching Assistant: Average annual salary of $28,972
  4. .NET Developer: Average annual salary of $75,295
  5. Director of Marketing: Average annual salary of $86,417
  6. Directional Driller: Average annual salary of $178,155
  7. QA Analyst: Average annual salary of $74,175
  8. Technical Lead: Average annual salary of $84,511
  9. Senior Engineer: Average annual salary of $100,630
  10. Network Administrator: Average annual salary of $73,910
The Best Cities
The average cost of living varies greatly between different U.S. cities, and as a result, salary for a job in one location may be higher or lower than pay for the same work in a different city. Where an employee resides can also dictate their overall quality of living and job performance. Workers in crowded cities, for example, often have to battle traffic and spend more of their paycheck on food, rent, and transportation. According to Forbes, the U.S. cities with the happiest employees include:
  1. San Jose, California
  2. San Francisco, California
  3. Boston, Massachusetts
  4. San Diego, California
  5. Seattle, Washington
  6. Salt Lake City, Utah
  7. Washington, DC
  8. Austin, TX
  9. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  10. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota