Forget title, salary and prestige—lifestyle is the key to job happiness
Matt Anchin, SVP at Monster, shares some of the surprising findings of a new social media study on job sentiment
By Matt Anchin, Senior Vice President of Global Communications and Content, Monster
These days people openly share just about everything on social media, from what they ate for lunch, to what they think of Kanye’s latest exploits to how they feel about their jobs. While I care what you have to say about all of the above, the latter is something I’m particularly interested in from my P.O.V. as SVP of communications and content at Monster, the leading global platform for connecting jobs to people.
Yet until recently, even with a number of indices out there used to measure the health and satisfaction of the U.S. workforce, no one was looking at social media activity as a metric for job satisfaction.
Last year, Monster began collaborating with the social media intelligence experts at Brandwatch to produce the first-ever job sentiment report based on Tweets. Today, we’ve released the second annual report, and I am even more fascinated by the results, especially as we compare them to last year’s data.
Over two years, we’ve analyzed more than 2 million Tweets, with the aim of understanding exactly who’s taking to Twitter to talk about their jobs, what they’re saying, when they do it, where they live and why they’re so happy or unhappy. (And if you’re wondering if people really bold enough to publicly talk on social media about hating their jobs, I can assure you—they really are.)
Surprisingly, a lot has changed in a little over a year, but not everything. Here are the four things that wow-ed me the most about this year’s study:
Populous areas are not where it’s at
Unlike last year’s report, where the top job love was overwhelmingly concentrated on the West Coast—and with Hawaii topping the list—lower population states like Idaho and Montana rose to the top in 2016.
I’m a native New Yorker who thrives on the energy of the densely populated big city, and I was initially shocked to see this shift to states with far fewer people per square mile. (I probably see more people on my way to lunch than people in Helena—the #6 city by population in Montana—see in a week.) Upon further reflection, however, it occurred to me that these findings match with studies showing that people’s work and lifestyle priorities are shifting.
This is especially true with Millennials, who are both the most active Twitter users and now the largest segment of the workforce. Countless studies have shown that they place great value on having work-life balance. Having come of age in the layoff-ridden Great Recession, they’ve also seen significant macroeconomic uncertainty. Take the last year alone—between the Brexit decision, stock market volatility, racial conflicts, ISIS attacks, and the 2016 U.S. presidential election. With that in mind, perhaps it makes sense that they would start to gravitate toward areas and lifestyles that enable them to focus on enjoying their day-to-day lives in the way that they want to.
Welders are feelin’ the love
This year, the top jobs on Monster in the states with the most job love ranged from “technical support representative” and “software developer” to “welder” and “carpenter.”
Certainly the trades offer considerable stability and security, and often some level of flexibility. That tech support and software developer made the list may be attributable to the growth of our tech economy: Employers in these tight sectors of the labor market must do more to court employees and keep them happy, as well as go farther afield and tap other sources of talent.
Meanwhile, in the states with the most job hate—which included my tri-state neighbors of New Jersey and Connecticut—there is availability of more high-intensity, long hour jobs in “advertising,” “biotech and pharmaceutical,” and “business development.”
Thursday is the new Friday
The data also revealed even more evidence of shifting workplace trends and workforce priorities. For instance, this year Thursday won out over Friday as the most loved day of the week—#TGIT!
This could be because people are taking advantage of increased opportunities for flexible scheduling. Or maybe the rise of the gig economy means that fewer people are putting in the traditional Monday to Friday.
It’s all about the people
I was especially interested to see that one word that consistently rose to the top of both positive and negative conversations about work: “people.”
This goes back to my earlier point about how Millennials, who have 39% share of voice in Twitter job love and hate conversations, are really focused on less transactional factors in job satisfaction. We’re seeing evidence of that fact here: It’s not always about the job, the pay or the perks as much as the people you have to deal with every day—and share plenty of personal space with in the open office jungle—who impact your overall happiness and quality of life.
Taken individually and as a whole, the changes in perspective over last year have significant implications for employers and job seekers alike. For companies, the findings emphasize the importance of listening to employees as well as communicating the unique values of your employer brand so that you can find talent that’s the right cultural fit. Surveying your current workforce and finding ways to increase satisfaction can be well worth the investment—because if your employees aren’t happy, they’re advertising it to their friends, your talent pipeline and your potential customers on social media.
Meanwhile, job seekers, you may need to be thinking beyond title, salary and prestige if you want to find happiness in your work. Figure out what you value in terms of lifestyle and actual responsibilities, and prioritize career decisions based on these factors before you figure in the financials. Find an employer that allows you to live the life you love and do the work that you love, and you’ll be using the hashtag #joblove in no time.
Read the full report here.