You’re not likely to hear much grumbling around the typical American water cooler, because new research finds U.S. workers are enjoying a higher level of satisfaction with their jobs. Get all the details in this podcast, which also looks at the prospects for teens who want to earn some money this summer. Will your kid find a job?

Mark Hamrick, Bankrate’s Washington bureau chief, chats with:

  • Evren Esen, director of surveys for the Society of Human Resource Management, who says employee satisfaction goes up and down — and is currently on the up.
  • John Challenger, head of the employment consulting firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas, who says the teen job market has been improving.

And Bankrate’s Doug Whiteman tells how to make an offer on a home that will be accepted.

Bankrate Audio

Workers find happiness

Hear about a survey showing most people are satisfied with their jobs. Does that include you? And, find out about the outlook for teen summer jobs.

Mark Hamrick

Washington Bureau Chief, Bankrate.com

Evren Esen

Survey Director, Society for Human Resource Management

John Challenger

CEO, Challenger, Gray & Christmas

Doug Whiteman

Assistant Managing Editor, Bankrate.com

Transcript

(OPEN)

Mark Hamrick: From Bankrate.com, this is “Your Money This Week.”

I’m Mark Hamrick in Washington.

We’re all about work in this week’s edition. But feel free to relax as you listen to engaging conversations covering a variety of aspects of workplace issues.

In our first segment, Americans are enjoying a higher level of job satisfaction. That’s according to new research from the Society of Human Resource Management. And it isn’t just pay that makes a difference. What you’ll hear is instructive for employees and managers alike.

In the second interview segment, how is the summer shaping up for teen employment? While more teens are opting not to work, many engaged in school-related activities instead. Workplace expert John Challenger tells us about the prospects for teen employment and why it might be a good idea for young people to test the workplace waters.

This is peak homebuying season. Bankrate’s Doug Whiteman has some advice how to make the perfect bid.

And this week in business history: A transformative “I-launch” that changed the music business.

In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re fans of digital here on the podcast we like to call: “Your Money This Week.”

(TRANSITION)

Are you feeling more satisfied about your job these days?

A new survey by a group representing human resource managers finds job satisfaction is on the rise.

How much? For answers, I spoke with Evren Esen, with the Society for Human Resource Management.

Evren Esen: Actually, it matches the recession high in 2009. So in the middle of the recession we saw 86 percent satisfaction among employees with their jobs. Then in 2014, we saw it again.

Mark Hamrick: So I guess the question then would be: How good is this?

Evren Esen: This is very good. This shows that employees are happy with their jobs, they feel that they are in a good place with their jobs. They are also engaged in their jobs, so this is a very good number. We have seen that the satisfaction numbers for employees go up and down over the last 12 years that we have been doing this study, and this is definitely a good number.

Mark Hamrick: Is there a sense that job security has improved now that the unemployment rate is well below 6 percent nationally?

Evren Esen: Interestingly, employees still indicated that job security was one of the aspects that is important to their overall job satisfaction. So what this says to me is that employees still are concerned about job security. It is still at the forefront of their mind. Yes, things are getting better in terms of the job market and the economy, but there is still a sense that there is some degree of uncertainty.

Organizations have not gone back to life before the recession. There are still limited budgets, and pay increases are still quite minimal. So I think we see employees, as well as organizations, still being cautious.

Mark Hamrick: Well, I think that certainly ought to be in order, right, from the standpoint that we are living in a time of remarkable pace of change. Even in those enterprises where job security tends to be viewed as quite strong, as well, all know, you can have competitive changes in terms of who enters a business than one might already be in or also just economic cycles, right?

Evren Esen: Yes, absolutely, I think that after the recession, it is still so much at the forefront of our minds that people have a sense that things are not going to be the way they were before and that everybody feels that we still need to see how things are going. So I think it will still be some time before people feel completely comfortable.

Out study also shows that 56 percent of employees said that they would not be looking for a job outside of their current organization in the next 12 months. That shows me that employees are still uncertain about getting a new job, and possibly if there are layoffs, they would be the first to be laid off. So they are sticking with their organizations for the most part.

Mark Hamrick: Of course, the other part of that is that nearly half said they would be, which I find fairly remarkable.

Evren Esen: Right, it is about 44 percent said that they would be somewhat likely or likely to look for a job outside of their organization. So this means there are some that are going to be testing the waters, seeing what is out there and determining if it makes sense for them to make a move.

Mark Hamrick: So what do you think about your survey is particularly instructive here for managers or supervisors since after all you are an HR group?

Evren Esen: Well what came out in our survey this year, which I found very interesting, is that when we looked at the aspects of job satisfaction that employees were most satisfied with, they indicated that their relationships with their coworkers were what they were most satisfied with followed by their relationship with their immediate supervisor. They also were satisfied that their immediate supervisor took their ideas into consideration.

So this shows to me that employees are really valuing the work environment and when they are there, they are there with people that they feel they have a good relationship with, where they feel respected, and where they feel there is collaboration and teamwork. I think that is also what led to the higher overall job satisfaction that we saw this year. People feel good when they are going to work.

Mark Hamrick: Well that is very important obviously. So to the extent that you have been doing the survey for a little more than 10 years, what do you think has changed over that time? As you look off into the future — the fact that we did talk about the fact that we do live in a time of remarkable change. What do you think about these findings — what do you think they might tell us about the future of work?

Evren Esen: Well I think what they show us is that yes, employees will always value benefits, all base value compensation, and pay. But I think employees are also looking for something else. What came out on top is in terms of importance for employees this year, is that employees are treated with respect at all levels of the organization, and also trust between employees and senior management.

So employees want a workplace where they feel that they are an integral part of the organization, where they can trust their leaders and where their leaders communicate with them. That in a sense, there is a mutual respect that is going on, and where the employees can really feel like they are part of the organization. They contribute to the organization and they know where the organization is going. They are looking to their leaders to provide them with that direction in an honest way, in a way that keeps them aware of all the different steps and strategies that the organization is taking.

There is more a sense that employees really want to be a part of the organization in a way other than just going to work and picking up a paycheck. They really want to feel valued and feel part of a collaborative team and culture.

Mark Hamrick: Well, trust and respect have to be viewed as very high in the sort of ranking of core human values. Given the importance that work plays in all of our lives, I guess it only makes sense. But it is great to have this affirmed, and for anyone who has ever worked in an enterprise where those value have not been placed as a priority, this is adding an exclamation point, is it not?

Evren Esen: Yes, absolutely.

Mark Hamrick: Evren, this is terrific research, and it is great speaking to you about it. Thanks so much.

Evren Esen: Thank you very much, Mark.

Mark Hamrick: Evren Esen. She’s director, survey programs, for the Society for Human Resource Management. She spoke with me in Washington.

(TRANSITION)

As the weather warms around the country, the home selling season also heats up.

If  you are ready to make a bid on a new home, you want to prevail.

Bankrate’s Doug Whiteman tells us about ways to win.

Doug Whiteman: You’ve found the perfect home. Now, how do you make the perfect bid — one that that the seller will accept and that you can feel comfortable with?

First, take a temperature reading. Is the local real estate market a hot one that benefits the seller, or a cool one, meaning that the property owner will be more likely to accept an offer below the asking price? Next, check the comps — comparable sales — to see what similar houses have been going for in the area. Ask people who live in the neighborhood about noise, crime and any construction that’s planned because those are issues that could allow you to reduce your offer.

Get price advice from your buyer’s agent, if you’re working with one.

And research the seller. If the home has been on the market a while and the seller has moved out, a low bid might stand a good chance. For more on how to make the best home price bid, visit Bankrate.com. I’m Doug Whiteman.

(TRANSITION)

Mark Hamrick: When did you start working? Or is that something you’re still planning in the future?

For many of us, our first jobs as teenagers were key experiences helping to shape our career paths and early impressions about the value of work.

So how’s the job market for teens shaping up this summer? It is a question John Challenger has been looking into. He’s CEO of Challenger, Gray and Christmas, a Chicago-based employment consultancy. For their review, Challenger looked at employment prospects for 16- to 19-year-olds.

John Challenger: The economy is improving. Unemployment has been falling. That combination should significantly improve the job prospects for teens this summer. There are fewer teens who actually want jobs, but we are seeing strong conditions. In fact, last year teen employment grew by almost 1.3 million jobs. We expect more this year.

Mark Hamrick: Summer jobs are different from employment in the traditional full-time employment in the sense that obviously they are temporary. Let us talk about the pros and cons of summer employment for young people. I might be biased, John, because I worked as a teenager. My son did. I think if the job is right, it can be tremendously positive, right?

John Challenger: So true. Many people feel, in fact, many people have found that working as a teen at a business, earning your own money, being responsible and reliable are some of the most basic skills that set up the foundation for long-time successful working careers.

Mark Hamrick: You mentioned at the outset that not all teens sort of “want to work” these days. Why is that?

John Challenger: We are just seeing that more teens are taking alternative paths during the summer. Fewer are working. The participation rate is going down. Some are going back to summer school. Others are taking on extracurricular activities and personal development programs. Some go on mission trips. The number of teens who decide to — work, say, at a local retail store or the like seems to be declining each year.

Mark Hamrick: Now, the high compared to the — well, I should say it does appear to be high compared to the overall unemployment rate of 5.5 percent. The unemployment rate for teenagers has dropped sharply from the recession high of 29 percent in 2010. Tell us about how that is faring.

John Challenger: This year’s teens are going into a job market in much better shape than they have in previous springs. In March, we saw the highest March employment level for that group since 2009. The unemployment rate amongst teens was 17 percent in March, down significantly from what it was when it peaked back in June 2010 during the recession at 29 percent.

It does not mean a low unemployment rate with the jobs increasing, that it is going to be easy for teens this summer. There is a lot of competition from their peers, other teens, and also older jobseekers. Teens continue to face competition from older jobseekers, especially those in their early 20s who have not found the job that they want. But the improving economy is beginning to change some of that as some of those 20-somethings find higher paying positions that leaves some of the traditional jobs more open for teens this summer.

Mark Hamrick: John, as one who has such broad knowledge about the workplace as you do, do you think it matters to employers later on whether a teen or we might even say someone in their young 20s whether they have worked or not?

John Challenger: I do think especially in those first jobs when you leave school, companies look at not just the school records of the students coming out but also their work histories. They want to see that they have a foundation that they have been working. It certainly adds to someone’s potential if they can show that they have been successful at a number of jobs over the summers.

Mark Hamrick: We think about the United States and as diverse as it is across the country, rural and urban and different kinds of environments the young people may find themselves in, there are all kinds of opportunities for teenagers. Some of those are by virtue of city governments. And some of those are in the private sector.

What kind of advice would you have for, let us say, a parent who wants to try to help their child? Or, indeed, a teen who might be listening and says: I know that the season is upon us. How do we go about connecting with some of these opportunities?

John Challenger: One, it is just key for young people to get a fast start. Do not wait until graduation or for the end of the year to start the search. Start talking with employers now. It is also very important to see people in person. That is where a parent can really help. They have relationships with people in companies.

It might be government. It might be in some other area that a student is interested in. But helping them to meet people face to face and talk with them about their careers, about what it is like working at that particular place, is the key to shortcutting the job search.

Mark Hamrick: It is a great exercise in networking, John, because I think about different opportunities that young people I know have become aware of. Some cases it is friends of friends and other cases it is knocking on doors.

John Challenger: So true. If teens start now and get comfortable with the idea of going out and seeing people in person, that is a life skill that will benefit them all their lives, because lifetime tenures do not exist anymore. Fewer are going to be able to find that. Getting comfortable with the idea that when you do get into a place a where you have to make change, seeing people, even though you are out of work, is just a critical, critical life skill.

Mark Hamrick: John Challenger, it is always great to catch up with you. Thanks so much, John.

John Challenger: Thank you, Mark.

Mark Hamrick: John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray and Christmas. He joined me from his office in Chicago.

(TRANSITION)

This week in business history: April 28, 2003.

Apple, then called Apple Computer, launched the iTunes store.

The online-only venture has since elbowed brick-and-mortar competitors out of business. You have to look hard to find a traditional store selling recorded music these days.

Since that launch date 12 years ago, Apple has sold billions of music downloads. Between copyright infringement claims and the ingenuity of Apple’s invention, peer-to-peer file sharing site Napster was forced to adapt to the online sales model.

Once again, Steve Jobs and company changed the landscape through innovation.

(CLOSING THEME)

(CLOSE)

You’ve been listening to “Your Money This Week.” Now, have your say!

Let us know your thoughts online in the comments section of our site and follow me on Twitter @Hamrickisms. The podcast is available both at Bankrate.com and through Apple’s iTunes.

Thanks to my colleagues producer Danilda Martinez and editor Doug Whiteman.

I’m Mark Hamrick. From all of us here at Bankrate, thanks for listening. Here’s hoping you have a great week.

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