Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Only holders of brainy jobs get paid for emotional toil

05.10.2004


Emotionally draining jobs bring few monetary rewards if the employment does not require great intellectual demands, a new University of Florida study finds.



Friendly waiters, angry bill collectors and nurturing child-care workers are among the many American workers who experience emotionally charged encounters that require shows of empathy or other feelings but have little recompense, said John Kammeyer-Mueller, a UF management professor and one of the study’s researchers.

Unlike professionals whose jobs require less technical skill, however, those in positions that are high in both intellectual and emotional demands, such as doctor, lawyer or CEO, are amply rewarded for the stress they place on the worker’s state of mind, he said. "Initially, we expected people to get paid more for anything that makes their job harder because that’s been the traditional economic model," Kammeyer-Mueller said. "But we found that many people who have emotionally demanding jobs actually get paid less than their counterparts who have less emotionally demanding jobs."


Using government data on 560 occupations and analyzing salaries and wages for these occupations, his team sought to determine if there was a relationship between salaries and "emotional labor," the task of having to act out an emotion as part of a job that is different from what the person actually feels.

Some economic models hold that anything that makes a job a little more challenging increases the pay rate, Kammeyer-Mueller said. However, he said emotional work might not be unpleasant for people who find that managing their emotions and interacting with others is rewarding. "The reasons some of these jobs with high emotional demands don’t pay as much is that often people in these positions crave the kinds of social interactions that go with the emotional labor," he said.

In the case of a flight attendant or counter worker, the social interactions that accompany the emotional demands of the jobs may be appealing because they make the job less tedious than working on an assembly line or in other areas of manufacturing, he said. "Most people would rather work behind the counter at Starbucks than work in a factory if given a choice," he said. "No matter how clean and safe the factory is, they would find it boring work."

Because employees with heavy intellectual demands face an additional burden by having strenuous emotional responsibilities, too, they are more likely to be compensated for them, he said. "In a high-intensity position, like a doctor or a lawyer, you already have a job that is interesting and difficult," he said. "Once you add the emotional component on top of that, it becomes overwhelming for a lot of people."

Few people are able to tackle both high cognitive and emotional challenges, and the marketplace rewards this scarcity with higher salaries for these occupations, he said. "If this trend continues, we may see even more of a split between the top and bottom parts of the income distribution, between lawyers and psychiatrists, on the one hand, and manicurists and waiters on the other," Kammeyer-Mueller said.

The results have important implications because jobs with emotional demands are becoming increasingly prevalent with the shift from a manufacturing to a service economy, he said. "Especially with the baby boomers approaching retirement, there is going to be a huge demand for people to provide care for them as they get older and need more help," he said.

Jobs with low cognitive and emotional demands include roofers, cafeteria attendants, hand sewers and key punch operators, Kammeyer-Mueller said. Probably the fewest number of people have jobs with high intellectual skills and low emotional demands, such as physicists, astronomers and zoologists, he said.

Alicia Grandey, an industrial-organizational psychology professor at Pennsylvania State University who studies employee emotions, said the study shows how society continues to financially undervalue labor that takes care of people, such as child care, compared with professions that take care of things, such as computer operators. "If it doesn’t act as a wake-up call to re-evaluate our compensation system, I hope this study makes customers a little bit more respectful toward that person who serves them their morning coffee. The kindness of strangers may be what makes that job worthwhile."

Kammeyer-Mueller did the study from 2001 to 2003 with Theresa Glomb, an industrial relations professor at the University of Minnesota, and Maria Rotundo, a professor in human resources and organizational behavior at the University of Toronto. The results appeared in the August issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology. "I think jobs in the future are going to require being better able to deal with emotional demands, though I’m not sure we can train people for that," he said. "But those who are able to control their emotions while also serving in intellectually demanding jobs will have the opportunity to make more money."

John Kammeyer-Mueller | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ufl.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT

nachricht Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>