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Many U.S. Workers Are Unhappy

The glass may be a half full or half empty when it comes to the job picture. On the one hand, employed workers are happy they have a job; however, a new survey finds that many feel undervalued and stressed out, with many dissatisfied with aspects of their job.

Conducted online on behalf of the American Psychological Association by Harris Interactive between January 31 and February 8, 2011, the survey found that 36 percent of workers reported experiencing work stress regularly and almost half (49 percent) said low salary has a significant impact on their stress level at work.

Being underpaid is not the only reason the American workforce is unhappy.

Employees also cited lack of opportunities for growth and advancement (43 percent), heavy workload (43 percent), unrealistic job expectations (40 percent) and long hours (39 percent) as significant sources of stress.

Additionally, less than half of employees (43 percent) said they receive adequate non-monetary rewards and recognition for their contributions at work and only 57 percent reported being satisfied with their employer’s work-life practices.

Just 52 percent of employees said they feel valued on the job, only two thirds reported being motivated to do their best at work and almost a third (32 percent) indicated that they intend to seek employment elsewhere within the next year.

Although these challenging times have been difficult for many organizations, according to the American Psychological Association, some employers have seized the opportunity to create a healthy culture where both employees and the organization can thrive.

In recognition of those employers who understand the link between employee well-being and organizational performance, the American Psychological Association will recognize eight organizations at its sixth annual Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards in Washington, D.C., on Saturday March 12.

The employers who will receive the 2011 award are Cross, Gunter, Witherspoon & Galchus (Arkansas), eXude Benefits Group (Pennsylvania), San Jorge Children’s Hospital (Puerto Rico), First Horizon (Tennessee), Northeast Delta Dental (New Hampshire), Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, Northwest (Oregon), The MITRE Corporation (Virginia), and the City of Grand Prairie (Texas).

These employers reported an average turnover rate of just 11 percent in 2010 — significantly less than the national average of 38 percent as estimated by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Surveys completed by the winning organizations show that only 18 percent of employees reported experiencing chronic work stress compared to 36 percent nationally, and 87 percent of employees reported being satisfied with their job vs. 69 percent in the general population.

Additionally, only 6 percent said they intend to seek employment elsewhere within the next year, compared to 32 percent nationally.

Souorce: American Psychological Association

Many U.S. Workers Are Unhappy

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Many U.S. Workers Are Unhappy. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 27, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018 (Originally: 10 Mar 2011)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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