Cook Computing

The Price of Job Satisfaction

November 23, 2005 Written by Charles Cook

The consistently interesting Stumbling and Mumbling reports on a paper which puts a price on job satisfaction, coming up with a surprisingly large value. S&M quotes the paper:

To reduce job satisfaction from 9 to 8 on the 10-point scale...would, for a family with $65,000 income, have to be matched by an income increase of more than $30,000 a year [to leave life satisfaction unchanged]...Moving from the middle to the 75% percentile in job satisfaction would have a personal income equivalence, for someone of median income, of $17,000 per annum. These dollar amounts would be correspondingly lower for families with lower incomes.

But then maybe it will not be so surprising to readers of this blog who are likely to be software developers and so typically endowed with high IQ brains which have a voracious appetite for intellectual stimulation. Being stuck in a dull job is going to be very tedious for that sort of person and would have to be financially very rewarding to make life bearable.

This does suggest the corollary that moving someone into a role they don't want to do, for example moving a developer into a support role working on legacy code, is going to increase the chance that they will look for another job, because they will be prepared to take lower income for increased job satisfaction, so widening the range of job opportunities they will consider. Or maybe that never happens because other instincts or fears come into play making it very hard to give up income for increased happiness.