Survey probes satisfaction in the workplace

A survey conducted on behalf of Romania’s National Trade Union Bloc in 2010 sought information on the satisfaction of employees in their workplace. The survey found that 84% of the employees considered the promotion of staff in the company where they worked was open to competition with equal conditions among co-workers. But only 52% of respondents thought their pay was commensurate with the work performed, with little difference between the private and public sectors.

About the survey

In November 2010, the National Trade Union Bloc (BNS) published the results of research on ‘working conditions, satisfaction and performance at workplaces’ by a team of Romanian and foreign experts coordinated by Dr Liviu Voinea. The research was for a project called ‘Office for the Monitoring of the Labour Market and Quality of Workplaces’, which was co-funded from the European Social Fund through the Sectoral Operational Programme for Human Resources Development 2007–2013.

For the first stage, the survey’s sampling strategy relied on the Multifunctional Sample of Territorial Zones (EMZOT) master sample made up of 780 primary sampling units in Romania’s 41 counties and the six administrative sectors of the Bucharest municipality.

In the second stage, the sample was built up by selecting permanent households, grouped in ‘clusters’ of three neighbourhood households, similar to the sample used for the Household Labour Force Survey 2010. From this sample were selected only those households with at least one person with the status of employee. This produced 2,398 dwellings (with all the component households) with 3,627 employees.

The survey was carried out throughout Romania during the last three weeks of July and the first two weeks of August 2010. The response rate was 97.3% (3,528 individuals). Based on coefficients assigned to respondents, the results were then extrapolated to the entire country.

The 44 questions in the survey were grouped in three sections:

  • working conditions;
  • satisfaction in the workplace;
  • employees’ work performance.

Main findings

The degree of satisfaction at a workplace was measured with the help of two questions; one on career development policies in the employee’s company and the other related to the adequacy of the pay for the work performed.

Career development policies

The majority (84%) of the respondents questioned on their company’s career development advancement policies stated that their employers created an equal opportunities framework for peers. The percentages were similar in state-owned and private companies (86% and 83% respectively; Table 1). Only 11% of the respondents (10% in state-owned companies and 11% in private companies) described the career advancement policies of their employer as ‘non-transparent’.

Among the advancement criteria quoted by respondents (only one answer was allowed), 31% indicated work performance, 9% indicated length of service, 43% indicated a combination of work performance and length of service, and only 1% mentioned other criteria.

The share of the employees who stated that promotion was based on both work performance and length of service in the company was higher in state-owned companies (52% versus 40%).

Table 1: Employees’ views on their company’s career development policies (%)

Type of career building policy


State-owned company employees

Private company employees

Transparent policy enabling employees to enjoy equal opportunities with their peers:




– by work performance criteria




– by criterion of length of service




– by the combined criteria of work performance and length of service




– by other criteria




Non-transparent criteria such as personal connections




Other situation




Source: ‘Working conditions, satisfaction and performance at the workplace’, BNS, 2010.

Adequacy of pay for work performed

Only 52% of the respondents felt their pay was a just reward for the work they were expected to perform (Table 2). Approximately half of those interviewed (48%) felt their pay was inadequate for the work performed. The share of employees who were satisfied with what they were paid for their work was similar for state-owned and private companies (51% and 52% respectively).

Table 2: Employees’ views on pay–work adequacy (%)


State-owned company employees

Private company employees

Pay is deemed fair for the work performed




Pay is not deemed fair for the work performed




Source: ‘Working conditions, satisfaction and performance at the workplace’, BNS, 2010, Table 1.


Viewed from the angle of career development opportunities in a company, the survey casts a favourable light on employers, but it also reveals a discrepancy between career prospects and earnings. The survey responses are also a reflection of the generally low level of pay in Romania. In 2010, for example, the average monthly gross salary was €460 and the average monthly net salary was €335.

A summary of the survey findings (in Romanian, 3.11Mb MS PowerPoint) is available.

Laurentiu Georgescu and Luminiţa Chivu, Institute of National Economy, Romanian Academy

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