The Job is More Important than the Pay

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From the industrial revolution two centuries ago to the emphasis on work-life balance we see today, job satisfaction has become increasingly important over the years. Employees want to enjoy more than just a paycheck, and they show it through positive action. High job satisfaction is associated with:

  • Decreased absenteeism
  • Decreased turnover
  • Increased job commitment
  • Increased productivity1,2


More employers are recognizing the importance of measuring job satisfaction. The five facets of work they generally measure are:

  • Pay
  • Advancement opportunities
  • Co-worker relationships
  • Supervision
  • The work itself


Of these, “the work itself” ranks as the strongest motivator nearly every time. This means that employees generally consider internal aspects of the job more satisfying that external motivators like pay.3 But what “internal aspects” are we referring to?


According to researchers Hackman & Oldham, there are five aspects of work that are considered intrinsically motivating:

    Task Identity: how much the employee can visualize their work from beginning to end

    Task Significance: how important the work seems

    Skill Variety: how many different tasks the employee is allowed to do

    Autonomy: how much decision-making power and independence the employee has over his or her own work

    Feedback: how much the work itself provides feedback on performance and success4


While employees tend to value positive job characteristics over pay, studies have shown that managers often think pay is the most powerful motivator. This discrepancy suggests a need for more managers to get in touch with the needs of their employees.5


View related theory | View related best practice

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