Survey finds a salary buys more happiness than an hourly wage

When it comes to many aspects of their jobs—from overall earnings to vacation time—U.S. employees who earn a salary are happier than their counterparts who are paid by the hour, according to a new survey from Washington, D.C.-based polling firm Gallup.

happy balloon Survey finds a salary buys more happiness than an hourly wageThe research organization asked workers about satisfaction in 13 areas and found that salaried workers are significantly more satisfied than hourly workers when it comes to eight aspects of their employment—vacation time, retirement plans, overall earnings, health insurance benefits, opportunities for promotion, recognition of accomplishments, physical conditions of their workplace and job security. The biggest gaps came regarding vacation time (65% of salaried employees “completely satisfied” vs. 50% of hourly workers), retirement benefits (48% vs. 34%) and pay (41% vs. 29%). The findings are part of Gallup’s Work and Education poll.

Overall, U.S. employees don’t rank highly on Gallup’s Employee Engagement Index, with only 34% of workers “involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace,” writes Gallup’s Megan Brenan in an article about the survey results. And, she says, “hourly workers are significantly less satisfied with most aspects of their job, and as a result may be more difficult to manage.”

To buoy the spirits of both groups of employees, “Gallup polling suggests that managers would do well to start with workplace elements they can improve for all workers, such as offering recognition, providing flexible hours, and helping to manage employees’ workload and stress,” Brenan writes. “In the case of hourly workers, there’s considerable room for improvement when it comes to recognizing their accomplishments on the job.”