Living to Work or Working to Live: Job Satisfaction in the Ceramic Industry
CI's exclusive survey explores job satisfaction for workers in the ceramic, glass, refractories, brick and related industries.
We hear a lot these days about finding a balance between our work and personal lives, and it got me wondering: Are folks in the ceramic and related industries whistling happily while they work, or are they dragging themselves out of bed like Fred the Baker of Dunkin’ Donuts fame, mumbling, “Time to make the ceramic matrix composites/electronically tintable glass/kiln furniture/bathroom tile/brick pavers.” (See what I did there?)
To find out if our readers are putting in their time on the job just to make a buck or if they are happy with their work, we conducted a survey of our print, digital, and eNewsletter subscribers. (A special “thank you” goes out to all who participated!) Some of the results were quite surprising.
Overall Job Satisfaction
More than three-quarters of respondents (77%) indicated that they are either very satisfied or extremely satisfied with their current job. Notably, this level of overall job satisfaction outpaces the national average, which recently climbed to above 50% for the first time in 12 years.1
In terms of job function, those in corporate management are most satisfied with their jobs, with 89% of respondents indicating that they are very or extremely satisfied. While those in engineering and production management have the lowest level of satisfaction, 68% of those respondents still indicated that they are very or extremely satisfied. Figure 1 provides a breakdown of job satisfaction by job function.
The majority of respondents (75%) are very or extremely satisfied with their co-workers. Isn’t it nice when we all get along? Satisfaction dipped a bit when we asked about supervisors (69% very or extremely satisfied) and the company’s senior leadership team (63% very or extremely satisfied). While these numbers aren’t quite as strong as others in the survey, they do indicate that the majority of respondents in the ceramic and related industries are satisfied with their higher-ups; for perspective, the national average for supervisor satisfaction is 57.3%.1
Most respondents (82%) feel that they are qualified for their current position, while 17% think they are over qualified. Not quite two-thirds (63%) believe that they are compensated fairly. In terms of performance, 25% of respondents receive no regular feedback or formal annual review from their supervisor, while 36% get both (see Figure 2).
Our level of fulfillment at work is dependent on a number of factors, ranging from pay and benefits to hours and specific duties. To find out what drives our respondents, we asked them to choose three things that would improve their satisfaction. More than a third of respondents (35%) indicated that higher pay would do the trick, while retirement benefits, more vacation time, and profit sharing or a bonus would also help, by 24%, 23%, and 22%, respectively. Additional key job satisfaction drivers included better healthcare benefits (19%), a more challenging position (18%), more involvement by senior leadership (17%), a promotion (11%), and fewer hours (10%).
Surprisingly, 21% of respondents indicated that nothing would improve their job satisfaction; these lucky folks are satisfied with their jobs just as they are, thank-you-very-much. On the other hand, 19% of respondents are actively seeking a new position; 27% of those folks are looking for higher pay. Other attributes desired in a new job include a more challenging position or a promotion (24%), as well as better working conditions (14%). The open-ended “other” field for this question produced some inspirational desired job attributes, including “Making a difference” and “Less bureaucracy and bull crap.”
Vacation time is the most widespread employment benefit, with 86% of respondents indicating that their companies offer partially or fully paid time off. Other paid (partially or fully) benefits include health insurance (79%), sick leave (77%), retirement benefits (71%), life insurance (69%), a bonus (66%), dental insurance (64%), vision insurance (59%), fuel allowance (46%), profit sharing (43%), and a company vehicle (39%).
In addition, 56% of respondents indicated that their company offers partially/fully paid continuing education options. The majority of respondents (76%) have either previously taken, are currently taking or are planning to take courses in the future.
While a 100% job satisfaction level is not a practical goal, employees in the ceramic industry should be encouraged that they’re more satisfied in their work than most. How can you improve job satisfaction? Some respondents’ suggestions involve food (clearly these are people after my own heart), such as free coffee, birthday breakfast and lunch celebrations, and pot lucks. Might I suggest donuts?
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org. The entire report is available to purchase and download at www.clearmarkettrends.com, along with an inventory of other studies done in this industry.
1. The Conference Board, “Job Satisfaction 2017 Edition,” September 2017, www.conference-board.org.
- Nearly all (91%) of our survey respondents are salaried employees.
- Respondents are predominantly male (88%), and their average age is 56.
- Respondents have been in the industry for an average of 25 years; over half (55%) have been with their current company for 11 years or more.
- Almost a third (32%) of respondents have a bachelor’s degree, while over half (52%) have taken some graduate work or hold advanced degrees.
- While most respondents (70%) live in the U.S., 30% participation from outside the U.S. illustrates the worldwide nature of the ceramic industry.