- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 28, 2001

Americans are generally very pleased with their jobs despite changes in technology and desire for more leisure time, according to a survey analysis released yesterday.
The analysis was performed by the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, a Washington think tank that favors limited government and private enterprise.
The group compiled data from numerous polls and surveys over the last 25 years. Surveys from Gallup, Roper Starch Worldwide, Princeton Survey Research Center and the National Opinion Research Center were used in the analysis.
A comparison of that data showed that job satisfaction has remained positive over the years, a fact that belies much of what is commonly believed, the analysis' author said.
"The job discontent we often hear about is often not as bad as it seems," said AEI research fellow Karlyn Bowman at a press conference at AEI's headquarters.
Between 75 percent and 90 percent of American workers last year said they were somewhat to very satisfied with their jobs. The same can be said for American workers a quarter-century ago, the analysis reveals.
This continued positivity indicates that advancements in technology, like laptop computers and mobile phones, have done little to create disillusionment with work, even though Americans may be more likely to bring work home with them. The analysis showed that the number of people who would like more leisure time increased by 11 percent since 1975.
And it appears that Americans' attitudes toward leisure are changing. A survey conducted at the beginning of this year showed that 43 percent of Americans believe the purpose of work is to make it possible to have leisure time. The same poll conducted in 1975 showed that most Americans believed the opposite: that the purpose of leisure was to recharge for work.
Technology is largely responsible for this shift, executives of polling groups said yesterday.
Thomas Riehle, president and chief operating officer of Ipsos-Reid, a New York-based global marketing firm, said more workers are tied to their jobs via technology, leading to less leisure time outside of the office. But he said technology has increased worker productivity to the point where a lack of leisure time doesn't affect overall job satisfaction. In fact, Mr. Riehle said a recent Ipsos-Reid poll revealed that 54 percent of all workers believe technology has made their jobs more enjoyable.
At least one poll guru approached the AEI analysis with a more cautious eye.
"Underneath the superficial measures of happiness, there can still be some dissatisfaction," said Guy Molyneaux, a senior vice president with Peter D. Hart Research Associates, a firm that has helped steer the election campaigns of several Democrats, including Sens. Ernest F. Hollings of South Carolina and Charles E. Schumer of New York.
Mr. Molyneaux pointed to high rates of minorities and women who complained of discrimination issues at their workplaces. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission statistics show that complaints of Civil Rights Act violations have nearly doubled since 1992.
Meanwhile, many people who claim to be satisfied with their jobs also express concern that conditions in their field are getting worse, Mr. Molyneaux said. Teachers and nurses were particularly worried.
"There are some more subtle ways of determining people's job satisfaction that can tell a different story," he said.


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