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Measuring Job Satisfaction In Surveys -

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This report provides a comparative overview of how job satisfaction is measured in national working conditions

surveys, based on 16 national contributions to a questionnaire (PDF file ). It investigates conceptual and

methodological issues in the study of job satisfaction. The report then examines survey results on levels of general

or overall job satisfaction among workers, as well as identifying the relationship between specific factors relating

to work and job satisfaction. The national contributions from the following 16 countries are available (as PDF

files): Austria , Bulgaria , the Czech Republic , Denmark , Estonia , Finland , France , Germany , Hungary , Italy ,

the Netherlands , Portugal , Romania , Spain , Sweden and the United Kingdom . Jorge Cabrita and Heloisa

Perista (CESIS, Portugal) coordinated the preparation of this comparative analytical report.

Importance of job satisfaction

Investigated by several disciplines such as psychology, sociology, economics and management sciences, job

satisfaction is a frequently studied subject in work and organisational literature. This is mainly due to the fact that

many experts believe that job satisfaction trends can affect labour market behaviour and influence work

productivity, work effort, employee absenteeism and staff turnover. Moreover, job satisfaction is considered a

strong predictor of overall individual well-being (Diaz-Serrano and Cabral Vieira, 2005), as well as a good

predictor of intentions or decisions of employees to leave a job (Gazioglu and Tansel, 2002).

Beyond the research literature and studies, job satisfaction is also important in everyday life. Organisations have

significant effects on the people who work for them and some of those effects are reflected in how people feel

about their work (Spector, 1997). This makes job satisfaction an issue of substantial importance for both employers

and employees. As many studies suggest, employers benefit from satisfied employees as they are more likely to

profit from lower staff turnover and higher productivity if their employees experience a high level of job

satisfaction. However, employees should also Ð''be happy in their work, given the amount of time they have to

devote to it throughout their working lives' (Nguyen, Taylor and Bradley, 2003a).

The following passage summarises the importance of job satisfaction for both employers and their workers:

Job satisfaction is important in its own right as a part of social welfare, and this (simple) taxonomy [of a good job]

allows a start to be made on such questions as Ð''In what respects are older workers' jobs better than those of

younger workers?' (and vice versa), Ð''Who has the good jobs?' and Ð''Are good jobs being replaced by bad jobs?'. In

addition, measures of job quality seem to be useful predictors of future labour market behaviour. Workers'

decisions about whether to work or not, what kind of job to accept or stay in, and how hard to work are all likely to

depend in part upon the worker's subjective evaluation of their work, in other words on their job satisfaction.

(Clark, 1998)

Objectives of report

The main objective of this comparative analytical report is to assess whether and how the job satisfaction issue is

addressed in national surveys, and to examine some data and trends on job satisfaction. This report will reveal how

national surveys produce data on job satisfaction, focusing on the methodologies used, and will present available

data on job satisfaction.

This objective comprises four main goals:

1. to highlight policy at European level on the job satisfaction issue, and to consider it in an international

context. After a brief analysis of the European policy context, the report will discuss the concept of job

satisfaction and the presentation of recent comparable data and trends on the subject at international and EU


2. to understand how job satisfaction is assessed in the countries of 16 national correspondents reporting to the

European Working Conditions Observatory (EWCO) : Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark,

Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden and

the United Kingdom (UK). To achieve this understanding, a mapping exercise will be carried out, i.e. the

focus will be to report information about the availability of data and the way national working conditions

Ð'© European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, 2007


surveys or other data sources address the job satisfaction issue, including the identification of major data

sources and the wording of survey questions used;

3. to outline the main trends and correlations regarding job satisfaction in the 16 countries, identifying both key

differences and also common characteristics. Furthermore, this report explores the possible correlation

between job satisfaction and some other work-related issues, namely job autonomy, working time and

work-life balance,



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