What Leads to Satisfaction?
Closely related to compensation is job satisfaction — the majority of respondents indicate they are satisfied with their jobs (Figure 3). About 9.9% (164) are very satisfied, 38% (638) are highly satisfied and another 37% (622) are satisfied. Only 11% (184) say they have a low level of job satisfaction and another 2.9% (48) report a very low level of satisfaction.
The challenge and the stimulation of the work lead to such a high degree of satisfaction, according to 74% (1,200) of respondents (Figure 4). Other factors that significantly contribute include: salary and benefits, 57% (976); colleagues, 54% (886); the work environment at the company, 40% (655); and making products that help people, 32% (531).
What's to Dislike?
Lack of recognition irks the largest number of respondents, 42% (635) (Figure 5). The company's work environment follows with 31% (462) and then the hours and workload at 30% (449). Another 26% (400) faulted their salary and benefits.
Negative public opinion of the industry splits respondents (Figure 6). Approximately 13% (208) are very concerned about public opinion and another 39% (645) say they are somewhat concerned. However, 39% (642) are not really concerned about public opinion and another 9% (143) say they aren't at all concerned.
Several respondents complained that the public undervalues the role of chemicals: "People rally against the industry and the impact of chemicals and our facilities, however our lives would be dramatically impacted if the plastics and chemicals we use in every day life were eliminated," said one respondent. "I do believe the industry needs to continue minimizing our impact on the environment and health but our products are essential to a high quality life."
"I believe the general public thinks our industry is bad for the environment and that there is ignorance to how it actually contributes to new technologies that greatly benefit them," said another.
Others lamented a lack of appreciation for positive steps industry has taken. "It would be nice if the public realized we aren't bad guys," commented one. "We go above and beyond the environmental requirements because we want to be good corporate citizens.
"The chemical industry is still regarded as a major pollution-generating business, with little regard for the community and neighbors, which is in stark contrast to the improvements we have made in safety, process safety, and emissions reduction," griped another. "In addition, media portray "big business" as corrupt and evil, although we provide the necessary chemicals for almost all facets of the public's needs.
How the Data Were Gathered
A total of 1,827 respondents participated in this year's survey. That's second only to 2007 when 1,830 people answered our questions.
Since mid-January, respondents accessed the survey questionnaire via a link listed in the print edition of Chemical Processing, on the www.ChemicalProcessing.com Web site, and in e-newsletters and e-mail blasts sent to readers. Additionally, those who follow Chemical Processing on Twitter at Chem_Processing and Facebook at Chemical Processing Magazine were also encouraged to participate.
iPod Touch winner
John Zabrenski, senior project engineer at BASF Catalysts, Iselin, N.J., was randomly selected as the winner of a 8-GB iPod Touch offered by Chemical Processing as an incentive for participating in the survey.
"Thank you for informing me that I won the iPod," he said. "I am thrilled to win this prize. I have never won anything like this before."
We appreciate the answers and comments we received from all of this year's survey participants.
Ken Schnepf is Chemical Processing's Managing Editor. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.