Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer
The survey commissioned by the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) on 'Job Satisfaction and the Full-Time Jamaican' has identified the urgent need to invest in the training of workers in order to enrich a deprived work pool.
The study, carried out by Johnson Survey Research Limited, found that 56 per cent of full-time workers in Jamaica are women, with the remaining 44 per cent being men.
It also determined that the median age of full-time workers is 34.6, with 14 per cent being less than 25 years old and three per cent being 55 and older.
The median age is the age that divides the workforce population into two numerically equal groups, that is, half the people are younger than this age and half are older. It is a single index that summarises the age distribution of a population.
The average (median) full-time worker in Jamaica has had his present job for five years, with 19 per cent having had his job for one year or less.
Another 53 per cent have had their job for five years or less; 24 per cent for six to 10 years; and 22 per cent for more than 10 years.
The survey disclosed that those who were interviewed were almost evenly divided over whether they viewed their jobs as "careers" or "just a job", with managerial personnel more likely than staff members to view their stints as long
Some 47 per cent of the total full-time workforce feel that they are in careers, while 50 per cent think it is "just a job", with the other three per cent falling in the unknown category.
In the managerial/supervisory category, 71 per cent say they are in careers compared with 27 who believe they are in jobs. For normal staff, 37 per cent say they are in careers, and 60 per cent felt they were merely in jobs.
Consulting psychologist Leachim Semaj said: "The first thing that jumps out at me is that the average median full-time worker is in their present job for five years. The most recent (median) figures that I saw for the United States was 4.4 years."
Added Semaj: "This shows what I have been telling people for years - that people change careers five or six times in their lives and not just jobs."
He suggested that Jamaicans at large still harboured the notion when they left school that they must treat their first job as if it were something that they would be doing forever.
"If the median is five years, as was unearthed by the survey, then the numbers globally have been dropping, with the United States now down to four," he reasoned.
Semaj suggested that with that level of turnover, the only people who will be able to work with the change are those who have the training and are willing to upgrade themselves.
He noted that in the United States, high-school students usually worked in the fast-food industry. This, he said, is not the case in Jamaica. "We allow people to turn entry-level jobs into careers," said Semaj.
"You will always have a higher level of dissatisfaction at the bottom in one or two years … . You need to upgrade yourselves and move on," he stressed.
Within this context, Semaj argued that Jamaica's education system has failed. "Education makes you trainable; training makes you employable; and attitude makes you successful," he said. "We have too many people leaving high schools with no CXCs, roughly 50 per cent."