U.S. Employees Six Times More Likely to Love Their Job Than to Hate It

The Work Itself Drive How Employees Feel about Their Job More Than Their Pay, Employer or Coworkers

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

New York, NY – When asked if they love, hate or are indifferent toward their job, a majority of U.S. employees reported that they love their job (55%) while just 8% say they hate it, according to a new Ipsos Public Affairs-Randstad survey of over 1,000 employed U.S. adults. Over a third (37%) are indifferent.

  • Those most likely to love their job include those aged 55+ (61%) and those with a household income of at least $50,000 (58%).
  • Although they still represent a small proportion of those employed, unmarried adults are nearly twice as likely as married adults to say they hate their job (11% vs. 6%).

Those who love their job are most likely to say it is because of the work that they do (66%), much more so than their coworkers (11%), their employer (10%), the pay or salary (9%), or some other reason (4%).

  • Women are more likely than are men to say their coworkers are the reason they love their job (17% vs. 6%), while men are more likely than women to cite their employer (12% vs. 7%) or the pay (12% vs. 7%).
  • Differences also emerge across age groups, with employees aged 55 and over being most likely to say they love their job because of their work (77%), while employees under 35 are more likely than older employees to say it is because of coworkers (17%) or the pay (13%).

Those who hate their job are more split as to their reasoning, with roughly a quarter blaming each of the work that they do (29%), the pay/salary (25%) and their employer (23%). Fewer say that they hate their job because of their coworkers (10%) or for some other reason (13%).

While pay is not the top reason as to why employees love or hate their job, it is the top reason they have the jobs they do. When asked why they are working at their current job, over a third (36%) say it is because of the pay or salary – the top answer across demographic groups.

Others say it is because of the benefits, such as health insurance, retirement plans and vacation days (20%), or the contribution that they are making (17%). Less than one in ten say that they are working at their current job to gain experience for their career (9%), for the perks, such as freebies and travel (2%), or for its status (1%). Fifteen percent say they work where they do for some other reason.

  • Those most likely to be at their current job because of the contribution they are making include adults aged 55 and older (25%), college graduates (22%), and those who love their jobs (26%).
  • Adults under 35 who are earlier on in their careers are much more likely to say it is to gain experience (21%) than are their older colleagues.

Employees’ relationship with their employer may be another contributing factor. Six in ten employees (62%) feel that their employer cares about them, though 38% feel that they do not. Roughly six in ten across demographic groups do feel that their employer cares about them, though there is a drastic difference between those who love their job and those who hate it. Eight in ten adults who say that they love their job (81%) feel that their employer cares about them while just 12% of those who hate their job feel this way.

Less than half of employees (48%) say they see their “current job ‘going somewhere’, i.e., promotions, long term employment, skills development, etc.” However, majorities of employees under 35 (55%), men (53%), Southerners (53%), parents (53%) and college graduates (53%) do feel that they will advance and improve at their current job. Those who say that they love their job are most likely to say that their job is “going somewhere” (65%).

One in six employees (17%) agree that they are “currently ‘cheating’ on their employer by looking for a new position with another organization.” Those most likely to be job hunting include those under 35 (27%), those with a household income of less than $50,000 (25%), unmarried adults (22%), and parents (21%). Additionally, nearly half of those who say that they hate their current job (45%) are actively looking for other opportunities.

However, just three in ten (30%) say they would choose a “new and exciting job over one that was stable and secure.” Nearly two thirds of those who hate their job (63%) would go for this kind of opportunity compared to just 22% of those who love their job. Those under 35 (37%) and men (35% ) are also more willing than other to opt for a new and exciting job over one that is stable and secure.

While some are looking for new opportunities, nearly four in ten (38%) say that they would be willing to relocate for their job. Those most will to move include those under 35 (50%), unmarried adults (46%), men (46%), college graduates (44%) ,and those with a household income of less than $50,000 (44%). Those least willing to relocate include employees 55 and older (23%) and women (29%).

One in ten employees (11%) say that they are embarrassed to tell others about their job. This feeling is most common among those with a household income of less than $50,000 (17%), employees under 35 (16%), unmarried adults (15%), and particularly those who hate their job (31%).

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted January 31 – February 3, 2011. For the survey, a national sample of 1,008 adults aged 18 and older who are currently employed part or full-time from Ipsos’ U.S. online panel were interviewed online. Weighting was employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the universe. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points 19 times out of 20 of what the results would have been if the entire population of employed adults aged 18 and older in the United States had been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Nicolas Boyon
Senior Vice President
Ipsos Public Affairs

Rebecca Sizelove
Senior Research Manager
Ipsos Public Affairs

About Ipsos Public Affairs

Ipsos Public Affairs is a non-partisan, objective, survey-based research practice made up of seasoned professionals. We conduct strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of American and international organizations, based not only on public opinion research, but elite stakeholder, corporate, and media opinion research.

Ipsos has media partnerships with the most prestigious news organizations around the world. In the U.S., UK and internationally, Ipsos Public Affairs is the media polling supplier to Reuters News, the world's leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals, and the Hispanic polling partner of Telemundo Communications Group, a division of NBC Universal providing Spanish-language content to U.S. Hispanics and audiences around the world.

Ipsos Public Affairs is a member of the Ipsos Group, a leading global survey-based market research company. We provide boutique-style customer service and work closely with our clients, while also undertaking global research.

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About Ipsos

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U.S. Employees Six Times More Likely to Love Their Job Than to Hate It

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Nicolas Boyon
Senior Vice President, US
Head of Health Services Research

Ipsos Public Affairs
+1 212 293 6544
Rebecca Sizelove Strong
Vice President, US
Ipsos Public Affairs