Forget those retirement plans or that big promotion. Just feel lucky you've got a job.
According to a survey from LinkedIn, 63% of professionals worldwide are "happy" or "very happy" in their current jobs. In the U.S., 66% are happy. The professional networking site surveyed 12,000 LinkedIn members in 16 countries who have agreed to be contacted for research purposes.
"We're seeing a trend toward people realizing they are just lucky to have a job," said Nicole Williams, LinkedIn's connection director. With unemployment hovering at 9%, Williams says that people are starting to feel appreciative for what they do have at work, rather than lamenting what they don't. "They might not have gotten the raise they wanted, but they remember that they have a great boss who gives them a lot of credit," she said.
Worldwide, professionals in the Netherlands are happiest in their jobs, while Japanese are the most unhappy, LinkedIn's survey said. Brazilians are most optimistic about their prospects, perhaps not surprising given the fast growth rate of that economy. Spaniards are least optimistic while Americans came in seventh.
Being blessed with a job, however, doesn't mean that the employed are willing to pass on seeing the fruits of their labor. Fifty-two percent of those surveyed in the U.S. believe that producing results will provide them with advancement opportunities. Among the top three career ambitions cited by LinkedIn respondents were dreams of being promoted and retiring early.
Those expectations could be unrealistic. According to a late 2010 survey from WorldAtWork, an employment research organization based in Arizona, the percentage of employees who received promotions in 2009 fell to 7%, down from the 8.1% of employees who typically earn them. While dreams of retirement aren't impossible these days, an Associated Press-LifeGoesStrong.com survey released earlier this month found that 73% of baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) believe they'll have to work into their retirement years, up from 67% earlier this year.
Simply delivering isn't sufficient anymore, said Williams, as employers try to conserve every dollar they can. "Promotions don't just land in your lap," said Williams, "you have to ask for them." Another alternative is asking for benefits aside from increased pay and title. "Especially in this economy, you should try to attach the concept of 'promotion' to different perks, like working from home a couple of days a week, or getting an extra week of vacation," she said.
The third of Americans who reported dissatisfaction at work might recall that attitude can affect tangible rewards. "There are always people who will think their jobs suck, their lives suck, and they want to just focus on that and not think of anything else," said Williams. "That's a choice. You can be pissed off, but it's not going to change your circumstances."
Write to Kelly Eggers