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Relationship Between Job Satisfaction & Salary

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Job satisfaction means different things to different people. Some are happy with the challenges or the opportunity to use their creative skills. Others like the environment or their relationships with colleagues. In some cases, it’s a mix of several factors that bring the most satisfaction. The amount of money in the weekly paycheck is often a factor in job satisfaction.

Information Technology

A salary survey of senior information technology leaders reported in December 2012 by Search CIO found that the most important factors in job satisfaction were not related to salary. Intellectually challenging work and enjoyment of the working environment -- including good relationships with co-workers -- were most important, at 38 and 19 percent respectively. Flexible work schedules were important for 12 percent of the group, while only 8 percent stayed in the job because of their salary. In a similar survey reported the same month in Search Networking, only 13 percent of network engineers said salary was important, and only 11 percent would change jobs for an increase in salary.

The Science Sector

In the world of science, the August 2012 issue of Nature reported that most scientists are engaged with their work and pleased with their research but uneasy about what lies ahead. Approximately 44 percent of men and 43 percent of women reported the global recession had had a negative impact on their job satisfaction. Almost 70 percent of scientists in the U.S. reported being satisfied with their jobs, however. Senior scientists, who were more likely to have achieved tenure, were more satisfied overall than younger scientists.

Money Can't Buy Happiness

Job satisfaction is one of the factors in overall life satisfaction, which includes emotional well-being and life evaluation -- the thoughts people have about their lives -- according to a study reported in August 2010 by the National Academy of Sciences. Up to a certain point, according to the study authors, money can increase both feelings of emotional well-being and life satisfaction. Once income reaches approximately $75,000 a year, people may rate their life satisfaction more highly as income increases, but emotional well-being does not change with income increases.

Income Does Matter

A Gallup poll in May 2011 found that 87.5 percent of American workers experience job satisfaction, slightly less than the 89.4 percent high reported in February 2008, before the recession hit. The financial crisis apparently had an effect across the board, according to Gallup, despite most people reporting positively on factors such as the ability to use their strengths at work every day and having a trusting and open work environment. Racial minority groups and those with less education were more likely to report job dissatisfaction. Young people were also less satisfied than older people. Income had a significant impact -- 82.1 percent of those with an income of less than $36,000 were unhappy in their jobs, while 91.9 percent of those with an income of $90,000 or more were happy in their work.


Beth Greenwood is an RN and has been a writer since 2010. She specializes in medical and health topics, as well as career articles about health care professions. Greenwood holds an Associate of Science in nursing from Shasta College.

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