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Teachers’ job satisfaction rises

Job satisfaction amongst teachers has increased dramatically since 1999, with the profession rising from 54th to 11th in a league table of job satisfaction published this week.

The table, published in the Industrial Relations Journal, ranks 81 occupations defined by the UK Standard Occupational Classification (2000) by how satisfied employees feel in their job.

It uses the latest information from the Department of Trade & Industry’s Workplace Employment Relations survey of 2004-2005, which polled 22,500 British employees about their work experiences.

• Top of the table are corporate managers and senior officials.

• Hairdressers and beauty therapists come in second place.

• Six of the top ten job satisfaction occupations are held by management positions.

• Information and communication technology (ICT) professionals have a low job satisfaction ranking (in 66th place) despite being paid more than others towards the bottom of the table.

• Journalists and other media professionals are ranked 50th.

• Despite often poor rewards and job security, arts performers and administrators also make the top ten (ranked 10th).

The table can be seen in full here: (462 K PDF).

“Individual job satisfaction is made up of a range of factors including material rewards, such as pay and conditions of employment, and symbolic rewards, such as prestige,” said Professor Michael Rose from the University of Bath who carried out the research, which was funded by the Economic & Social Research Council.

“It is also influenced by psychological rewards, such as being able to express creativity, and social rewards, such as having a supportive colleague network.

“There is a high correlation between the position of occupations now and when the last table was produced six to seven years ago.

“Major changes of position for larger occupations, such as teaching, point to real shifts in job rewards and experiences.

“The wider public is often given the picture of teaching as an occupation low in material returns and with the attractions of sense of achievement, job quality and social status in decline.

“These findings suggest that teaching professionals are now close to the top of the UK’s job satisfaction while others, such as ICT, languish near the bottom.”

Despite receiving higher pay, one in ten of the ICT professionals surveyed earned more than £45k, many of those working in reported low job satisfaction. Usually earning in excess of £40k has a strong positive effect on job satisfaction.

“The most important factor in determining the levels of job satisfaction in the survey is the managerial skill in creating a sense of involvement,” said Professor Rose.

“ICT professionals emerge from the survey less satisfied with involvement, sense of achievement, job security and training provided.

“Improving job satisfaction across occupations is complex, but could be done.

“Reducing the deficits that reduce job satisfaction in occupational groups could have benefits for subjective wellbeing - which impacts on health, productivity and social good.”

Occupations taking a tumble in the table include records clerks, household services, childcare, secretarial services and leisure and travel services.

“These are all occupations in which women heavily predominate, confirming a long term trend towards lower women’s job satisfaction,” said Professor Rose.

“Job satisfaction among skilled construction workers, an almost exclusively male group of occupations, also fell sharply in recent years.

“Financial service managers and retail managers have show huge rises in job satisfaction, with the credit and consumer booms boosting career opportunities and rewards.”

Andrew McLaughlin | alfa
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