Job satisfaction in Britain: coping with complexity

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

June 1, 2005


Claims for a growth of despondency in the British workforce in the 1990s, based on job satisfaction data, are questioned by an evaluation of: (i) the bases of comparison, (ii) features of job-satisfaction measures, (iii) the properties of key data sets and (iv) inferences drawn from the data. A more complex situation is presented showing significant falls in satisfaction with the job facets, the work itself, and hours worked; significant rises in satisfaction with total pay and security of job; a steep decline in overall job satisfaction among women and stable or slightly rising overall job satisfaction among men. Trends in job quality, workforce composition, the economic cycle and changing work values among women, rather than generalized despondency, are proposed as sources for hypotheses for future research. The latter should include a review of data requirements, and research on the performance of measures of job satisfaction.

Published in

British Journal of Industrial Relations


Volume: 43 (3):455-467



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