Job Satisfaction in Foreign Countries

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  • 0:05 Understanding Job Satisfaction
  • 0:58 How Satisfied Are Workers?
  • 2:08 Examples of Job…
  • 4:14 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rob Wengrzyn

Rob has an MBA in management, a BS in marketing, and is a doctoral candidate in organizational theory and design.

Many of us strive for job satisfaction, the feeling we like our jobs and contribute to the company by doing them. Job satisfaction is important around the world, but it has nuances not present in the U.S. We will discuss this issue in this lesson.

Understanding Job Satisfaction

There are many different aspects to job satisfaction. In its simplest form, job satisfaction relates to how happy or content a person is with their job. The challenging part is that satisfaction really is a relative term. What I mean is what satisfies one person may not satisfy another. Some individuals might be satisfied with just the money they are paid for the work they do, while others might need health benefits or job security to bring job satisfaction. It is possible that a combination of these elements (and others) can assist with job satisfaction.

When we think of job satisfaction, we tend to think of the term in the context of the U.S. job satisfaction, but job satisfaction is a global issue and one all companies and countries work to understand. The main differences are what each culture considers an important aspect of job satisfaction and how the individuals in the different cultures relate to or work with their organizations.

How Satisfied Are Workers?

To help show how relevant job satisfaction is in countries other than the United States, it is necessary first to see how employees in other countries rate how happy they are with the jobs they have.

There have been numerous studies relating to job satisfaction in foreign countries. We must take a moment to understand that the results of these surveys are tied to the time when the survey was taken and who was responding to the survey. You see, areas such as wages or gender equality or even job safety are all part of job satisfaction, and if a survey was done on a day or week where individuals received a raise, they might be happier with their jobs. On the other hand, if the surveys are done after an accident in a plant, the survey results might be very different. Still, we need to take this type of information and see what it tells us.

It is important to note that job satisfaction is not tied to how developed, how large or how rich a country is, but rather how happy individuals are working at their jobs in different countries. In many cases, the results of this type of information are tied to the relationship the employee has with the company (the cultural aspects of that relationship). However, it can also include how much government is involved with ensuring workers are content.

Examples of Job Satisfaction Overseas

To look at job satisfaction in foreign countries, we have to look at the entire picture of what makes someone happy in their job. For example, in Germany in 2012, the unemployment rate was the lowest it had been in 20 years (and that makes people happy), and employees in Germany average approximately 30 days of vacation each year.

However, the focus of job satisfaction runs deeper than just holidays, vacation and unemployment. The German workers actually have a say in pay structure, the technologies they will use and even have a representation in the boardroom. It's easy to understand that these aspects (coupled with the others I've just mentioned) help promote job satisfaction because the German workers have a say in what the company does. Do you think you would be happier at your job if you had as much say in business as the German workers do?

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