August 28, 2007 / 10:07 PM / 10 years ago

Job satisfaction increases with age: study

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Most Americans are happy with their jobs and work satisfaction increases with age, according to a new study.

Eighty-six percent of people questioned between 1972 and 2006 said they were content in their work and only four percent were not satisfied.

The study showed workers over 65 years old were the most satisfied while people under 29 were the least happy in their work.

“In general, job satisfaction increases with age,” said Tom W. Smith, director of the General Social Survey at the National Opinion Center at the University of Chicago.

He added that as people get older they move up the career ladder and get into better positions. They also sort through different alternative careers and find something that matches their talents and abilities better.

Many of the least satisfied younger people are in starter jobs, according to Smith.

“They are the bottom of the ladder, lowest paid and doing the most basic work, and not the creative work,” he explained in an interview.

But Smith pointed out that many of these people eventually move out of these unhappy jobs and that’s when job satisfaction levels increase with age.

Blacks, Hispanics and those doing unskilled labor also reported low levels of job satisfaction, while those in high prestige positions who earn more money were the most satisfied.

But money and prestige do not guarantee satisfaction.

“Money helps. Money isn’t everything but better paid jobs do have higher satisfaction,” said Smith.

He also pointed out that in terms of general life happiness, aside from the job, members of the clergy topped the list.

“Presumably, their satisfaction is very high because they are convinced they are doing God’s work,” he said.

“The rule is that most people are pretty satisfied ... The level of job satisfaction has remained virtually unchanged in the last four decades.”

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