Restless generation lacks job satisfaction

GEN Y workers are the least satisfied with their jobs and are more likely to quit for something better, a national survey has found.

Four out of every 10 employees surveyed said they were seriously considering leaving their current position, but that figure jumped to more than half in the 25 to 34 age group.

Neither pay nor the boss are to blame for the dissatisfaction, however, with younger workers reporting more favourably on the way they are treated by their employer and whether they are paid fairly, compared to their older colleagues. Instead, it is the nature of the job they are doing that fans the discontent.

By contrast, older workers are more satisfied with the work they do but report higher levels of discontent over career development opportunities and salary.

Overall, however, the workforce is happier than it was eight years ago when human resources consultancy company Mercer conducted its last What's Working survey of 1000 Australian employees - part of a 17-country survey with 30,000 participants. Yet in 2003, only 25 per cent of workers said they were seriously considering quitting their job, compared to 40 per cent in 2011.

Marian Baird, professor of employment relations at the University of Sydney Business School, said the Mercer survey's findings appeared contradictory, but were credible and indicative of constrained financial times.

Intention to quit does not necessarily translate to an employee actually quitting, she said, and in the case of younger people, the desire to quit was partly due to a natural urge for change and the increasing expectation that younger workers will pursue multiple career paths during their working lives.

''But we have also brought Gen Y up not to believe in a job for life,'' she said.

''Now they are acting on it.''

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