Job satisfaction – definition and meaning

Job satisfaction or employee satisfaction is the feeling of pleasure, enjoyment, and fulfillment that workers derive from their job. It is the degree to which somebody knows that their job is worth doing. Job satisfaction also refers to the degree to which people’s jobs give them this feeling.

Put simply; job satisfaction is the pleasure we get from doing our job.

Teaching, for example, will not make you rich, but it will probably give you job satisfaction. You will get that feeling especially if you like to help people learn.

The Cambridge Dictionary has the following definition of the term:

“The feeling of pleasure and achievement that you experience in your job when you know that your work is worth doing, or the degree to which your work gives you this feeling.”

Determining levels of job satisfaction in a company is the job of human resources professionals. Specifically, those carrying out job analyses.

Concept of job satisfaction

The concept of job satisfaction varies considerably. Edwin A. Locke, an American psychologist and a pioneer in goal-setting theory, defined it as:

“A pleasurable or positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job or job experiences.”

Job satisfaction definition and facets
There are many different lists of facets of job satisfaction. This list came from Penn State.

Some specialists, however, define it as simply how content workers are with their jobs regardless. That is, regardless of whether they like the job or not.

We can measure satisfaction at global level, i.e., whether somebody is content with their job overall. We can also measure it at facet level, i.e., whether somebody is content with different aspects of their job.

Paul E. Spector, an industrial and organizational psychologist at the University of South Florida, listed 14 common facets:

Supervision, Security, Recognition, Promotion Opportunities, Policies and Procedures, Personal Growth, Organization, Nature of the Work, Job Conditions, Fringe Benefits, Coworkers, Communications, and Appreciation.

Cognitive and affective job satisfaction

How we measure job satisfaction varies. For example, affective job satisfaction measures workers’ feelings towards their job.

Cognitive job satisfaction, on the other hand, measures people’s cognitions about their job. In other words, people perceptions, opinions, beliefs, and expectations regarding their employers and their jobs.

Job and life satisfaction

Some studies have found that job satisfaction often goes hand-in-hand with life satisfaction. In other words, those who are content at work enjoy a high level of life satisfaction too. Also, it works both ways. People with a high level of life satisfaction tend to be satisfied with their job.

According to Wikipedia:

A 2016 FlexJobs survey revealed 97% of respondents believe a job that offered flexibility would positively impact their lives, 87% think it would help lower stress and 79% think the flexibility would help them live healthier.”

“Additionally, a second survey of 650 working parents revealed that flexible work arrangements can positively affect people’s personal health, as well as improve their romantic relationships and 99% of respondents believe a flexible job would make them a happier person in general.”

Other studies, however, found little correlation between job and life satisfaction when the researchers took into account other factors.