Compensation vs Job Satisfaction

Compensation vs Job Satisfaction

Will higher compensation lead to increased job satisfaction? Most likely, no.

If So…What Will?

What will lead to higher job satisfaction? This is a matter of debate with no shortage of answers.

However, a survey taken of 12,115 workers worldwide by the Energy Project found that many employees lacked a fulfilling and meaningful workplace.

In contrast, employees who find meaning from their work were more than three times as likely to remain with their organizations (the highest single impact of any other survey variable); have 1.7 times higher job satisfaction and were 1.4 times more engaged at work.


There can be many reasons a person feels meaning in their work.

However, in a study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, Jennifer Aaker of Stanford Graduate School of Business, along with colleagues, explored the key differences between lives of happiness and meaningfulness. “Happiness was linked to being a taker rather than a giver, where as meaningfulness went with being a giver rather than a taker,” Aaker said.

In other words, an employee who feels that they are giving through their work, will likely feel more meaning and satisfaction in their job.

But, Happiness Also Doesn’t Hurt

That being said, many research studies have shown that happiness also leads to higher performance and compensation.

In fact, researchers at Wharton Business School found that companies with happy employees outperform the stock market year after year.

A study published in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes found that doctors who are happy have been found to make faster and more accurate diagnoses, even when this happiness was induced simply by giving them the small gift of a sugary sweet.

So too a positive outlook and self-confidence can increase one’s income. A research paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that adolescents and young adults who report higher life satisfaction earn significantly higher levels of income later in life.

The Decision

In short, when deciding whether to accept a new job, consider the following three factors:

1. What do I want?

2. What job will enable me to accomplish my goals?

3. Where will I be happier and more satisfied?

For some, salary comes first; for others, job satisfaction and fulfillment. However, whichever decision one makes, as the above studies demonstrate, more money does not necessarily equate to job satisfaction.


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