Employee engagement is on its way back up despite a still-struggling economy, but according to new Gallup research, morale improvement in the workforce is decidedly top-down.
In short, your boss enjoys his job more than you do.
Engagement was up in eight of the nine sectors measured, with “managers, executives and officials” showing the best increases: 10 percentage points between 2009 and 2012. On the other end, manufacturing and sales employees had five and six percent increases, respectively. Other professions reported only slightly greater engagement than in 2009.
Increases across the board are definitely a good, but even Gallup was somewhat puzzled by the dramatic difference between management and workforce.
“It is possible that, amid tough economic times, managers and executives are increasingly motivated to drive a sense of purpose in their organizations,” they reasoned.
They also suggested that managers may be more optimistic about the recovering economy and enjoy a greater sense of control that those lower on the ladder.
Interestingly, the service industry showed something of a reversal. Years ago, they were the most engaged while now, it is the only sector surveyed where engagement fell.
“During the recession people were happy just to have a job,” remarked Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics. “Now, those that are most marketable are feeling more confident in their options.”
A National Employment Law Project report last year showed that post-recession job gains were primarily service industry jobs. Lower-wage occupations amounted to 21 percent of recession losses, but 58 percent of recovery growth. Between 2010 and 2012, 1.7 million jobs (43 percent of net employment growth) came in food service, retail and employment services sectors.
Because of this, there’s sort of a fear still lingering in the job market: Lower-level employees are pretty replaceable, and they know it. “There’s a lot of fear remaining,” Lister said.
“It is much easier to be engaged in a job that you expect to hold for the foreseeable future (than) a job that you could lose at any time,” said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
Do you enjoy your job?
[Image via: Denys Prykhodov, Shutterstock.com]