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Is job satisfaction of high-level managers and self-employed more pro-cyclical than normal employees?

Nuria Sánchez-sánchez and Ahn Namkee

International Journal of Manpower, 2018, vol. 39, issue 6, 800-819

Abstract: Purpose - The recent economic crisis in Spain is felt most severely in the labour market. The purpose of this paper is to examine job satisfaction among the occupied workers according to their job types throughout the ongoing economic cycle comparing the period of boom and that of bust. Design/methodology/approach - Surprisingly, the average job satisfaction has stayed virtually constant between the two periods, which suggests the existence of compensating forces operating among the occupied population. The authors find first the compositional change of working population, such as a decreasing proportion of temporary contract workers had only small effects, unable to explain the puzzle. The authors also find that macroeconomic conditions affect workers’ job satisfaction differently by the type of workers or jobs. In fact, high-level managerial workers and self-employed employers have suffered a significantly large reduction in their job satisfaction during the crisis while some other types of workers such as ordinary employees have enjoyed increased job satisfaction. In order to explore the causes of these differences, the authors examine the satisfaction in different job domains. Findings - The results suggest that in the case of self-employed, decrease in job satisfaction with respect to wages job stability superior evaluation is significant and the promotion prospect is not relevant for self-employed, while for managerial workers, the only significant decrease is due to superior evaluation. Research limitations/implications - The Spanish data with a reasonable sample size which include information on job satisfaction are the Spanish Survey of Life Quality at Work. Unfortunately, the survey is not longitudinal, therefore unable to examine the factors affecting transitions in satisfaction level or to control for fixed individual effects, and the data only cover until 2010. Further investigation including more recent data and data from other countries would be helpful to better understand the consequences of economic crisis on job satisfaction. Originality/value - This paper contributes in two ways. First, the authors show what has been happening to the job-related well-being during the recession in Spain by the type of workers: high-level managers, managers, self-employed and employees. Job satisfaction can be determined by pressures to work harder and longer hours, reduced wages, lower promotion possibility and higher layoff probability, and all of them could have been changed by the economic crisis. Consequently, the second contribution is to analyse different dimensions of job satisfaction as satisfaction with wages, flexibility, stability, stress and promotion to determine the causes of the changes in average level of job satisfaction.

Keywords: Conditions of employment; Decomposition; Recession; Self-employed workers; Economic crisis; Job satisfaction; Senior management; Job specification; Job domain satisfaction; Job rank; J28; J21 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1108/IJM-02-2017-0037

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