Despite often-noted strains and stresses of their jobs, nursing home administrators and directors of nursing are generally well satisfied with their current positions — and their compensation — according to the 2019 McKnight’s LTC Mood of the Market Survey.

Administrators reported relatively high overall levels of pay satisfaction — with 23% at “very well paid,” 47% at “somewhat well” and 16.5% at “average.” Nursing directors expressed more in the top slot — 26.8% at “very satisfied,” along with 35% at “somewhat well” and 25% at “average.”

“Your average or better rating for pay is 88 percent. Those are numbers you only see when people are happy with where they are,” observed Paul Gavejian, managing director of Armonk, NY-based Total Compensation Solutions.

“These folks are, I would not say ‘pleased,’ but feel — and we know the difference between ‘feel’ and ‘think’ — their pay is average or better. And that’s what everybody compares themselves to: They want to be paid at least average or better than most.”

Source: McKnight’s Long-Term Care News

Survey results reflected responses of more than 250 long-term care professionals who answered a digital survey in April.

It’s common, but incorrect, to believe most polled executives would criticize salary levels, Matt Leach, a senior consultant with Total Compensation Solutions, told McKnight’s. About 12.25% of all Mood of the Market respondents said they are paid “not so well” or “not at all well.”

“Many members of executive teams, administrators and DONs know the realities of the financials of their organization,” Leach said. “You have to remember that a lot of organizations are having to figure out how to do more with less money. Top line numbers may be stagnant or decreasing while salaries are increasing. When that’s the environment you’re in, it’s less likely you’re going to say you’re underpaid.

“It also says that, for these folks, money isn’t the biggest motivator,” Leach added. “But boards have to be careful. I think the results would drastically change if respondents start to think they’re being cheated or taken advantage of.”

Administrators reported the highest levels of satisfaction with their jobs: 59% picked “very satisfied,” while 32% chose “somewhat satisfied.” Nursing directors were close behind in aggregate, with 46% at “very satisfied” and 43% at “somewhat satisfied.” The latter group registered 2.4% at “very dissatisfied.”

“This doesn’t really surprise us right now because of the nature of the [job] market,” Leach said. “If you wanted a different job and you’re not satisfied now, it’s relatively easy to find another one. We’ve seen this in similar surveys in other industries and other periods.”

He said answers are also borne out of the idea that many workers are in the healthcare industry “because they want to help people, not just so they can make as much money as they can.”

Calling the respondent class “a good, solid sample,” Gavejian noted that the high satisfaction levels track well with the survey’s findings that 98% felt they were doing “meaningful” work.

See continuing coverage of the 2019 McKnight’s LTC Mood of the Market survey this week in editions of McKnight’s Daily Update.