"You're getting jobs added, but they might not be the best-quality job," John Canally, an economist with LPL Financial in Boston, told The Associated Press in August.

In fact, low-paying and part-time jobs have made up the bulk of job gains not only in the past year, but since the economic recovery began. Low-paying industries have contributed to 61% of the country's job gains, while middle-income industries contributed only 22% of job gains, according to Moody's Analytics.

"The lower quality of the available jobs is one reason pay has stagnated," AP economics reporter Paul Wiseman said in September. The average hourly wage of private-sector employers hasn't kept pace with inflation since the end of the recession.

Since there is still an average of three people to every available job, many employers aren't feeling any real pressure to increase wages to retain their staff, while employees may feel their options to find better employment elsewhere or to improve upon their current positions are limited.

Yet Euler does not think pay is necessarily the reason behind plummeting employee pride. "Finances are not a key indicator of people enjoying their jobs," Euler says, referring to Salary.com's fall findings that many people have not negotiated their salaries in several years -- despite the fact that virtually none of the employers surveyed responded that would fire or demote someone who asked for a raise.

Negotiating the terms of one's job or evaluating whether a career change is in order might be one of the things needed to buoy worker confidence and engagement.

"Many people might want more for themselves personally, professionally and financially," Euler says. "Regarding a salary negotiation or looking for a new job, the worse thing is to assume an answer or outcome to something you haven't even asked for or attempted yet."

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