Washington, DC - American workers under 35 report being happier with their paychecks than people over 55 for the first time since at least 2011, according to a new report from the Conference Board, a business-research organization that polls U.S. employees about workplace satisfaction.
Overall, the share of workers satisfied with their paychecks rose to 46.4% in 2018, from 43% in 2017, an increase that mirrors federal data showing that wage growth accelerated in 2018. The biggest leap came from millennials and Generation Z, whose enthusiasm for their compensation shot from 36% in 2017 to nearly 46% a year later.
[In] all, nearly 54% of U.S. workers said they were satisfied with their jobs in 2018, the highest share reported in more than two decades, said the Conference Board, which has been polling about workplace satisfaction since 1987.
With unemployment at historic lows and many managers worried about holding on to the employees they have, Americans reported feeling far more secure at work. The share of people who said they were satisfied with their job security jumped to 59.2% in 2018, from 53.8% the prior year.
“The components that improved the most are directly related to labor-market conditions,” said Gad Levanon, chief economist for North America at the Conference Board. The group surveyed approximately 2,000 workers about 23 separate topics, from promotion policies to whether they like their co-workers.
Young workers may report greater happiness with pay because people tend to change jobs more in the early years of their careers, data show, and switching to a new position or employer often comes with a raise. With the demand for labor prompting many companies to lure workers with higher salaries, younger people are reaping the benefits.
Overall, median weekly earnings rose 5% from the fourth quarter of 2017 to the same quarter in 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For workers between the ages of 25 and 34, that increase was 7.6%.