Most employees say their job is unrewarding and saps their energy, according to a new survey by a talent and career management service.

Only one employee in five considers their job rewarding and gratifying, said the survey by Right Management, a subsidiary of ManpowerGroup.

The survey was conducted in December and January and 438 North American workers responded. About 21 percent said their job was gratifying; 30 percent said they wanted to enjoy life, and worked toward that aim. Nearly 50 percent said their job was unrewarding.

“The survey findings are like a barometer that tells us something about the mood in today’s workplace,” said Tim Monney, talent practice leader for the Midwest for Right Management, which provides talent development and outplacement services to Fortune 500 companies. “Employees are clearly in a grumpy mood, a trend we’ve tracked for more than a year. In better times, we probably would have found just minority complain … but now it is almost a majority of employed North Americans who seem to be unhappy.”

The prevailing bad mood is related to building workplace pressures,” he said.

“In recent surveys, Right Management found that fewer workers feel they may need to step away from their desk for a lunch break, or even take all the vacation due them,” he said. “And we learned that may feel trapped in their jobs or resent they’re expected to respond to work emails on the weekend. Meanwhile, staffs are leaner and workloads are bigger. “

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Widespread disaffection stems from factors beyond the control of most employers, Mooney said. The job market is sluggish, job mobility is down, businesses aren’t expanding.

Mooney advises employers to develop proactive strategies to engage people in their work.

“Some efforts might be simple or obvious, such as acknowledging that times are difficult,” he said. “Sometimes it’s just necessary to be seen trying to make a difference.”