What Is Job Satisfaction and Why Is It Important?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated June 10, 2022 | Published January 3, 2022

Updated June 10, 2022

Published January 3, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When looking for jobs, you ideally find one that meets your monetary needs and increases your motivation to work. Finding a good, satisfying job can make you happier in both your personal and professional life, encouraging you to be a hard worker and contribute to the company's success. Understanding more about career satisfaction can help you find a job that offers it. In this article, we explain what job satisfaction is, why it's important, discuss its causes, and give you tips to help you find satisfaction at work.

What is job satisfaction?

Job satisfaction is a measure of an employee's contentedness with their job. It is the feeling of enjoyment or fulfilment that a person derives from their work. You can measure it in behavioural, cognitive, and affective components. Career satisfaction typically includes two ideas, which are intrinsic satisfaction and extrinsic satisfaction. Intrinsic satisfaction focuses on what kind of work is being done, including the tasks and duties that make up the job. Extrinsic satisfaction focuses on work conditions, such as the environment, supervisor, pay, and coworkers.

Why is career satisfaction important?

High job satisfaction in the workplace is beneficial for both the employee and the employer, as it can strengthen a company in the following ways:

  • Lower turnover rate. When employees are happy with their job, they are less likely to leave. This lowers the company's turnover rate, meaning employers may not worry about constantly hiring and training new employees.

  • Loyal employees. Similar to the lower turnover rate, work satisfaction can help employees feel more loyal to their employer and company. This can help them feel more passionate about their work, helping to create a positive reputation for the company.

  • Higher productivity. Satisfied employees are more motivated to work hard and put in extra effort into their work. This increases productivity, helping teams adhere to deadlines and complete all their tasks successfully.

  • Increased profits. All three aspects of work satisfaction can also lead to increased profits. Higher productivity typically leads to increased sales and revenue, and a lower turnover rate and loyal employees save money on recruitment.

Causes of job satisfaction

Everyone receives satisfaction from their job for different reasons. Here are some of the common causes of career satisfaction:

Engagement

To be engaged at work, an employee may be present, productive, and focused. Employees are more likely to feel engaged if they can apply their skills to the best of their ability and if they have a clear understanding of how their work impacts the company. Being engaged in their work allows employees to feel more passionate and happy about their work.

Motivation

If an employee understands the motivation behind their job, it may help increase their career satisfaction. A person can evaluate what motivates them by asking themselves why they took this job and what inspires them to be in this profession.

A company can also clearly outline their goals and motivations so employees know what they're working towards. If it's a cause they believe in, it can motivate them to work harder. For example, if a company is increasing their revenue and donating a portion of it to charity, telling employees this may motivate them to work harder, as they know it's for a good cause.

Related: SMART Goals: Objectives for Your Career

Compensation

Compensation is a big part of determining whether an employee is happy with their job. An employee who feels like a company compensates them fairly may generally find their job more satisfying. This can also include pay raises or promotions when they're due. For example, if an employee works for a company for five years and receives no pay raise or promotion for their hard work, they may not find satisfaction with that company compared to another employee who receives annual reviews with a pay increase each year.

Related: How to Negotiate Salary (With Examples)

Acknowledgement and appreciation

Regardless of the job someone has or the type of work they do, everyone likes to be appreciated for their hard work. When employers acknowledge their employees' hard work and show appreciation for them, those employees tend to have more satisfaction with their job compared to those who receive no recognition. This can motivate them to continue to work hard.

Life satisfaction

Someone happy with their life outside of work has a better chance of being satisfied and happy with the job and work they do. Having a good work-life balance can contribute to this as well. For example, if employees have a fixed schedule or know when they're working, they can plan activities they enjoy in their free time. Working regular, reasonable hours can provide people with enough time to create a healthy work-life balance, leading to a more fulfilling personal and professional life.

Opportunities

Whether there are other opportunities within a company is another factor in career satisfaction. An employee who has the opportunity to be promoted or has a chance to accept more challenging work is more likely to stay interested in their job and place of work. Being promoted is a motivating factor for them to work hard and be passionate about their work. If they know there's no room for growth at the company, they may leave to pursue other opportunities elsewhere.

Job security

Job security is important to many people. Employees who don't worry about losing their job may have more work satisfaction than those who do. Companies can't always predict when they may have reasons to lay off some employees, but employers that promote job security may attract more employees during the hiring process and encourage company loyalty among existing team members.

Supervision

Career satisfaction tends to increase when employees have good relationships with their supervisors. Supervisors may want to focus on collaborating successfully with their teams to increase their satisfaction. There are a number of ways to do this, such as practising active listening by asking your team for ideas or opinions or offering constructive feedback to help them grow.

Tips to find work satisfaction

Here are some tips you can consider to help you increase your work satisfaction:

Think about what makes you happy

Start by thinking about what you're passionate about and what makes you happy. You can make a list of your hobbies and passions and see if they line up with what you're doing at work. If you're not doing something that makes you happy, you may want to consider pursuing another job.

Related: 50 Core Values to Advance Your Career

Understand the value of your work

To help you appreciate your job more, consider what value your role adds to society. For example, if you're a chef, you're improving people's lives by cooking them delicious food and creating memorable experiences for guests. Every job offers value to the world in some way, so thinking about exactly what value you add can help you increase your satisfaction at work.

Related: 15 Important Professional Values for the Workplace

Be optimistic

Even when you're facing challenges at work, it's important to be optimistic. Look for the benefits your work offers to help you get through any tough times and remember that any challenge you're facing is likely short-term. If it's not, think about long-term ways you can improve your job to increase your optimism. For example, if you're constantly stressed because you work too much, talk to your supervisor about lowering your workload.

Offer help

If you note your peers or clients struggling, you can consider offering your help. Helping others can make your job more meaningful, letting you feel more satisfied and improving the job satisfaction of those around you. A great way to offer help is to mentor a colleague or take on a new project. This also provides additional workplace challenges you can use to develop your career.

Find balance

Don't focus all your attention on work. It's important to have a good work-life balance, so make time to do activities you enjoy, such as spending time with your family and friends. If you use your free time wisely, you can feel more refreshed and happy when going to work.

Look for learning opportunities

Feeling challenged in your role can make you more motivated, engaged, and it can help you develop skills to advance your career. Consider pursuing learning opportunities, such as additional training or online courses, which can help you grow and challenge yourself to be a hard worker and learn more. Seeking these learning opportunities also allows you to try new tasks and find what you enjoy doing at work.

Set goals

If you have something to work towards, it may motivate you to work harder and feel more satisfied with what you're doing. Set short-term and long-term goals that can help you advance your career. For example, a short-term goal may be cleaning your desk daily, and a long-term goal may be gaining a new certification from continuing education.

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