Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer
A new survey has revealed that the vast majority of Jamaican workers are happy in their jobs, or so they say.
The survey, conducted by Johnson Survey Research Limited and commissioned by the Jamaica National Building Society, revealed that 75 per cent of Jamaica's full-time workforce said they have achieved job satisfaction.
"For every four full-time workers, three say they are satisfied," stated the survey.
But while acknowledging those results, consulting psychologist Leahcim Semaj has noted a "significant discrepancy" in which daily complaints of low productivity continue to mar the local productive sector.
"It's one thing for workers to be satisfied, but is he/she delivering value for money?" questioned Semaj after exploring the contents of the survey.
"I have measured companies in which you have high satisfaction and low productivity because the workers figured out to how to get paid and without delivering," Semaj told The Gleaner.
Added Semaj: "If workers at a company are very satisfied, meaning that they get what they want to do and enjoy being there, but don't have to do what the company wants them to do, that doesn't benefit the organisation," he argued.
Semaj stressed that the ultimate goal is to have high job satisfaction along with high alignment levels between the workers' and company's values.
"That's really where you find the discrepancies," he stressed.
He blamed poor management offerings for the discord between high satisfaction levels on the job of full-time employees and low productivity output.
The survey revealed that 74 per cent of full-time Jamaican workers expressed satisfaction, compared to 24 per cent who were dissatisfied. Full-time employees describe themselves as happy rather than unhappy with their job by a 64 per cent to 18 per cent majority.
Highest in Corporate Area
It also noted that job satisfaction was highest among persons in the Corporate Area - 78 per cent. This is followed by managerial personnel - 85, those with either university education - 79; or graduate school education - 80.
The study found that the levels of job satisfaction in the manufacturing sector was 86 per cent; telecom/communications, 80; and financial, 78.
The report stated that perceptions of the empathy that immediate supervisors have towards those who work for them appear to play a major role in overall employee satisfaction and happiness.
The survey found that 11 per cent are actively looking for another job at this time, while 38 per cent say they are not looking for another job but would be amenable to considering one they heard about, while 49 per cent say they are not at all interested in another job at this time.
In an environment in which the unemployment rate has reached troubling levels of 15.4 per cent as at July, job security is an issue for almost one-half of those interviewed. Nineteen per cent of the interviewees disclosed they are very concerned and 28 per cent are somewhat concerned that they may lose their jobs this year.
A total of 1,590 persons who have a full-time job, either as an employee or a contract worker, were interviewed in-person throughout Jamaica from April 13 to April 19, 2013.
Semaj said while the findings of the survey appear to be reasonable, some factors must be held accountable for the attendant poor productivity that contributes to balance-of-trade issues, among other challenges being faced by Jamaicans.
Semaj suggested that the weak links in the variables are poor management and leadership.
"Most of the managers in Jamaica were never trained to be managers. They don't know how to be managers, and the weakest link is supervisory," he said.
Added Semaj: "They just don't have the skills required ... . Why is it that the same Jamaica productive workers go overseas and then become more productive? It's the way that they are managed!"