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JENNINGS, D. M. (1999). Is Length of Employment Related to Job Satisfaction?. National Undergraduate Research Clearinghouse, 2. Available online at http://www.webclearinghouse.net/volume/. Retrieved September 26, 2023 .

Is Length of Employment Related to Job Satisfaction?

Sponsored by: Brian Cronk (cronk@missouriwestern.edu)
The correlation between the many intrinsic and extrinsic variables that combine to make up total job satisfaction has been widely studied. This paper proposes to see if there is a relationship between length of employment and job satisfaction. Employees of a local business were surveyed to see if the company has high or low perceived job satisfaction. The company participated in the same survey one year ago, and the new results were calculated against the old to see if job satisfaction has changed. A correlation and a multiple linear regression found that neither years of employment, age, nor sex can be used to predict job satisfaction. An independent samples t-test showed a significant improvement over last years’ perceived job satisfaction. Future research should look at categories that consistently scored either low or high on the survey. This survey could be used to test other businesses for perceived job satisfaction and possibly as a benchmark from which to measure other constructs such as job security. Repeated yearly usage of this survey can give an accurate prediction of job satisfaction.

There is a multitude of reasons an employee will remain within a given company. High pay, excellent benefits, job security, and the ability to retire within a company are among the most sought after components of the perfect job. Unfortunately, any one of these attributes alone is not enough to outweigh the problem of low perceived job satisfaction. (Leavitt,1996). An individual’s length of employment is defined as the number of years a person has been employed by his or her current employer. The number of years in a given field is a cumulative total. This experience is important as it is considered status not only by employees but also by employers. A person with this status is less likely to feel trapped inside their present position. (O’Quinn & LoTempio, 1998). There are many extrinsic variables that employees must consider in deciding to stay within their company. Extrinsic items are those that have outcomes bestowed upon them by someone else (praise, rewards, bonuses, policies). For these types of rewards the employees need to look beyond themselves and assess their perceived value of what they’re given. (Moorman, 1993). The opportunity to advance plays an important role in an employee’s length of employment. If an employee feels they cannot achieve a higher level, they are more apt to consider another company’s offer. On the flip side, if an employer feels that an employee is not capable of a higher level of placement, they may retain the person in their current role indefinitely with only mediocre, if any, cost of living increases. Job satisfaction is the single most sought after attribute of the employment relationship. The most important element of job satisfaction is job security. (Khaleque & Chowdhury,1983). The ramifications of job satisfaction are extremely influential to any organization. It alone can be a determining factor affecting employee efficiency, productivity, absenteeism, as well as turnover. (Rahman, Rahman, & Khaleque,1995). It is no longer acceptable by the workforce to merely make a wage. Salary is a significant element pertinent to job satisfaction, but it is not by itself enough to decrease or increase job satisfaction. The relationship between an employer and an employee must provide both with the means by which to be fulfilled in their respective roles. Job satisfaction fills this need for both sides of the equation. If employees are satisfied in their roles it is assumed that their output quantity is greater and that their quality is higher. The employer must also be satisfied with the employee. These are accomplished by first recognizing that each side needs the other. The employer feels they have an advantage since there are many people from which to choose to fill a particular need. The employee can assume an advantage when he or she has a particular skill that is in demand. Job satisfaction is a two way street and involves participation. For this to happen, a relationship must evolve between the employer and the employee. Job satisfaction is therefore distinct from other organizational constructs. (Hinton & Biderman, 1995). Pairing job satisfaction with length of employment, however, takes a look at yet another relationship. This relationship is determined by how the employee is viewed now not only by the current employer, but how they can be perceived by prospective employers. An employee who has been in the workforce for a number of years has qualities and experience that can make him a valuable asset to a company. If recognized and rewarded consistently by the current employer, usually minimal action is taken to look for other employment offers. Experience is only one of a gamut of qualities that length of employment can pair with perceived job satisfaction. Others include the ability to work and relate with coworkers and customers, and the pattern of work and nonwork satisfaction. (Shaffer,1987). Initially, employees can be satisfied with high starting salaries. But after a few years experience, most employees recognize the importance of job security. (Rahman, Rahman, & Khaleque, 1995). Length of employment is defined as the number of years by which a person has been employed by a given employer. Job satisfaction is a combination of cognitive and affective contentment for an individual within a company. Cognitive satisfaction is based on non-emotional based conditions that are evaluative of outcomes and opportunities. These include working conditions and the nature of the job. These questions are for appraisals of the job itself, not for descriptions of the feelings. Affective satisfaction is one that is based on the overall positive emotional view of the situation. (Moorman,1993). This study proposes to see if there is a correlation between length of employment and perceived job satisfaction. Using a survey that combines questions concerning cognitive and affective satisfaction, this paper intends to find if that relationship exists. An additional anecdote is to see if perceived job satisfaction has increased or decreased in a particular place of employment given the same survey one year ago. I expect to find a correlation between length of employment and job satisfaction. I believe the veteran employees (over 12 year’s experience) and the novice employees (under 4 year’s experience) will both have high job satisfaction. I believe the employees that fall between these groups will have low perceived job satisfaction. I expect no change in overall job satisfaction from the previous year’s survey.


Thirty-seven office employees at VP Buildings (24 men and 13 women, mean age = 36.1 years) participated in a brief survey formatted with questions to determine if the employees in this company have high or low job satisfaction. VP Buildings is a pre-engineered metal building manufacturer in St. Joseph, Missouri that has forty office employees; one of which is the researcher. All participants were treated in accordance with the “Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Codes of Conduct”(American Psychological Association, 1992).

The only material used in this study was a survey. The survey was used to determine perceived job satisfaction. Also included in this survey were basic demographic questions to verify how long an employee has been employed with the company. The same survey was given to VP Buildings one year ago. See Appendix for a blank survey.

Thirty-seven participants completed a questionnaire containing twenty questions. All subjects completed the survey without compensation and with some anonymity. Age, sex, and years of employment were asked not only for basic demographic reasons, but to see if there was a correlation between the number of years employed and the employees’ perceived job satisfaction. A Likert-type scale was used to rate the responses on the survey. Five points were given to an answer identified as Strongly Agree; four points given to Agree, and so on. There were two reverse keyed items to prevent a standard response set and the survey included one filler question, which was not used in any of the calculations. Subjects were handed a blank survey and asked to fill it out. I collected the completed survey face down and immediately shuffled the stack to ensure privacy. The number of years employed was correlated with resulting job satisfaction. Also, I compared this survey’s results with the previous years’ results of the same survey.

A correlation was calculated to determine if length of employment was related to job satisfaction. I did not find a significant relationship (r(35)= -0.127, p=0.45). Therefore, years of employment cannot be used to predict job satisfaction. A multiple linear regression was conducted to determine if years, age, or sex could be used as an accurate predictor of job satisfaction. I did not find a significant relationship (F(3,33)= 0.49, p= 0.69). Therefore, none of the three chosen attributes are reliably related to predict job satisfaction. An independent samples t- test was conducted to determine if there is a significant difference between this survey and the one completed last year. A separation of one year in repeating the same survey to the same business resulted in a significant change in perceived job satisfaction (t(70)= 2. 57, p=0.012). Employees at VP Buildings are significantly more satisfied in their jobs this year (Mean=65.22) than compared with last year (Mean= 58.7).

There was a distinct improvement in job satisfaction at VP Buildings as shown by the survey results over the last year. However, there were four new employees added in the past year and three employees had left for various reasons. This study has found that it is not reliable to conclude that years of service, age, or sex can be used as an accurate predictor of job satisfaction. A possible limitation with this experiment is the effects of stress on the participants. Employees in stressful situations either at home or at work could possibly score lower on the job satisfaction test. For future research, it might be interesting to find if any categories on the scale scored either low or high consistently across those surveyed. This survey could be redone in other businesses to test if the results of this survey could be generalized to the outside world. This study is congruent with earlier studies that state that job satisfaction is crucial to the organization, and that it can be a factor affecting employee efficiency, productivity, and morale.

American Psychological Association. (1992). Ethical principles of psychologists and codes of conduct. American Psychologist, 47, 1597-1611. Hinton, M., & Biderman, M. (1995). Empirically derived job characteristics measures and the motivating potential score. Journal of Business Psychology, 9, 355-364. Khaleque, A., & Chowdhury, N. (1983, May). Perceived importance of job facet and over all job satisfaction of top and bottom level industrial managers. Paper presented at the proceedings of the third Asian Regional Conference of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology, Bang, Malaysia. Leavitt, W.M. (1996). High pay and low morale-Can high pay, excellent benefits, job security, and low job satisfaction coexist in a public agency? Public Personnel Management, 25, 333-341. Moorman, R.H. (1993). The influence of cognitive and affective based job satisfaction measures on the relationship between satisfaction and organizational citizenship behavior. Human Relations, 46, 759-775. O’Quin, K., & LoTempio, S. (1998). Job satisfaction and intentions to turnover in human services agencies perceived as stable or nonstable. Perceptual Motor Skills, 86, 339-344. Rahman, T., Rahman, T., & Khaleque, A. (1995). Job facets and job satisfaction of bank employees in Bangladesh. Psychological Studies, 40, 154-156. Shaffer, G.S. (1987). Patterns of work and nonwork satisfaction. Journal of Applied Psychology, 72, 115-123.

Read each statement.Decide the extent to which you agree with it. Circle the appropriate response for each item using the following scale:

1 = Strongly Disagree2 = Disagree3 = Undecided4 = Agree5 = Strongly Agree

Strongly Strongly Disagree Agree

1. My work environment causes little stress. 1 2 3 4 52. In my work situation I am able to 1 2 3 4 5 control what happens.3. I have difficulty concentrating at work. 1 2 3 4 54. My work is rewarding. 1 2 3 4 55. I often eat more than I should 1 2 3 4 56. I plan on retiring with my current employer. 1 2 3 4 57. My peers treat me fairly at work. 1 2 3 4 58. I am happy with my benefit package. 1 2 3 4 59. I like my job. 1 2 3 4 510. I am treated fairly by my supervisors. 1 2 3 4 511. I am satisfied with my pay. 1 2 3 4 512. I often see co-workers socially. 1 2 3 4 513. I receive sufficient training to do my job. 1 2 3 4 514. I am satisfied with my current job. 1 2 3 4 515. There are opportunities for advancement 1 2 3 4 5 with my current employer.16. I am usually very stressed at work. 1 2 3 4 517. Others treat me with respect. 1 2 3 4 518. My supervisors support my decisions. 1 2 3 4 519. No harassment occurs at my workplace. 1 2 3 4 520. I have a say in decisions at my workplace. 1 2 3 4 5

Submitted 5/2/99 3:03:30 PM
Last Edited 5/2/99 3:46:32 PM
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