“What do you want to be when you grow up?” When an adult asks this question to a child, they don’t expect the child to talk about the personality traits or skills they want to develop in adulthood. The adult expects the child to share what type of job they want. And as an adult, our job and job satisfaction play a major role in our overall happiness and quality of life.
Employers also care about job satisfaction. Job satisfaction often indicates whether a person will stay in their position. Employee retention affects a company’s bottom line. Other governing bodies take job satisfaction into account when assessing a state or country’s overall happiness and quality of life. Job satisfaction matters to a lot of people!
But what is job satisfaction, and what factors go into it? This page will outline everything you need to know!
What Is Job Satisfaction?
Job satisfaction is just what it sounds like: the feeling of satisfaction or fulfillment from working a job. In a world where people often feel pressured to have a high-paying job and live a life that requires a high-paying job, job satisfaction is not always easily obtained.
There are many factors that go into job satisfaction, however, beyond payment. Even if you’re making six figures or living comfortably, an abusive boss or the feeling that you’re not contributing to society may reduce job satisfaction significantly.
Job Satisfaction Factors
- Opportunities for growth
- Two-way feedback
- Mutual respect
- Diversity and Inclusion
- Work-life balance
- Personality, ethics, etc.
No one wants to spend all day working a job only to see their bills continue to stack up! Low pay easily kills job satisfaction. A report from 2016 showed that “about six-in-ten (59%) of those with an annual family income of $75,000 or more say they’re very satisfied with their current job, compared with 45% of those making $30,000 to $74,999 and 39% of those making less than $30,000.” With inflation rates increasing since then and the impact of COVID hurting many families financially, those numbers are likely to be more dramatic now.
Employers who want to keep their employees need to offer competitive rates and benefits. Over 50% of people would leave their job if they were offered more money somewhere else! People want to be paid. They want benefits, from health insurance to paid vacation time. It’s that simple!
The results of a study on burnout and job satisfaction were posted on the medicalschool subreddit. Users commented on the results with their own experiences and thoughts on how different jobs in medicine have different demands. One user, for example, said: “Well PM&R is like 50% sitting on the phone talking to some insurance guy with a bachelor's in business trying to explain how the deconditioned patient who has been in the hospital for a month after a below the knee amputation would likely benefit from rehab. I could see how that'd burn you out after a long time.” Another said, “In EM the highs are high and the lows are low. Literally nothing beats the satisfaction of managing sick, complex patients. Everything else sucks (toe pain, hours, stress).”
One might think that standing on your feet all day might sound like a high demand, but the other demands may be worth those hours. Some jobs demand heavy lifting. Others demand that you be nice to people who make you feel crazy. Recently, jobs have had to make a decision on whether they will demand workers come into the office, even though the world shifted to a more remote work environment during the pandemic. In 2021, 97% of office workers said they didn’t want to return to the office full-time. Companies that demand in-person meetings may see a drop in job satisfaction just from that policy!
All of these demands play into how you feel at the end of the day, physically and mentally.
Opportunities for growth
If you knew that you have the same schedule 20 years from now as you did today, would you feel satisfied? Or would you want to find a new career path that has more opportunities for growth? Most people would pick the second option. Growth opportunities play into job satisfaction. If a person believes they can grow, get promoted, and develop new skills in their position, they will stay.
How does your employer know that you’re satisfied at work? How do you know that your employer is satisfied with your work? Feedback. When employers are constantly seeking feedback through exit interviews, yearly reviews, and employee surveys, it signals an interest in improving the organization and giving employees a better experience.
Relationships With Coworkers and Management
Most jobs require you to work side-by-side with other people. If you don’t like these people, you’re unlikely to like your job. Relationships with coworkers and management is important to create a safe, satisfying work environment. Trusting your team allows you to think creatively, use your skills, and voice your opinion. These are all important, not just for productivity, but also for overall job satisfaction.
(Have social anxiety? These jobs may be more satisfying and less stressful for you!)
Diversity and Inclusion
People not only want to feel like they are included at work, but also that everyone has a chance to feel included at work. Four out of five workers want their company to value DEI. And they don’t want companies to just say they value DEI, either. Equal pay, policies against discrimination and harassment, and regular opportunities for education all contribute to a more inclusive culture and higher job satisfaction.
If COVID-19 wasn’t enough to make some people question their job security, massive layoffs in tech and other industries can shake an employee’s confidence. For some, finding a secure job or a satisfying job feels like an either-or option, but knowing that you are not likely to get fired will likely make you feel at ease and more comfortable while speaking your mind, being creative, and expressing yourself.
How would you rather spend a Saturday: working or pursuing your hobbies? Working or hanging out with friends? Working or traveling the world? Very few people want to work all the time, and many who do will encounter burnout pretty quickly. Work-life balance is crucial for mental health and job satisfaction.
Personality, Ethics, Etc.
How important are any of these factors? The answer depends on the individual working the job. We all know someone who prioritizes financial security over ethics or fulfilling a purpose. And we all know someone who prioritizes work-life balance over everything else! Different personality types may feel more or less open to new opportunities or strongly about making a positive difference in the world.
Tests like the Myers Briggs test can help you discover what jobs are best suited for your personality type.
Whether you are an employer or an employee, it is important to take a step back and consider job satisfaction at your company. Is your team happy? Do they feel like they are using their skills and have the chance to grow and learn? Is everyone being compensated fairly? Knowing the answers to these questions is crucial to creating a happy, supportive, and satisfying environment.