Work characteristics and determinants of job satisfaction in four age groups: university employees' point of view

Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2009 Nov;82(10):1249-59. doi: 10.1007/s00420-009-0451-4. Epub 2009 Jul 21.


Purpose: To investigate (a) differences in work characteristics and (b) determinants of job satisfaction among employees in different age groups.

Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire was filled in by 1,112 university employees, classified into four age groups. (a) Work characteristics were analysed with ANOVA while adjusting for sex and job classification. (b) Job satisfaction was regressed against job demands and job resources adapted from the Job Demands-Resources model.

Results: Statistically significant differences concerning work characteristics between age groups are present, but rather small. Regression analyses revealed that negative association of the job demands workload and conflicts at work with job satisfaction faded by adding job resources. Job resources were most correlated with more job satisfaction, especially more skill discretion and more relations with colleagues.

Conclusions: Skill discretion and relations with colleagues are major determinants of job satisfaction. However, attention should also be given to conflicts at work, support from supervisor and opportunities for further education, because the mean scores of these work characteristics were disappointing in almost all age groups. The latter two characteristics were found to be associated significantly to job satisfaction in older workers.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Conflict, Psychological
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Education, Continuing
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Time Factors
  • Universities*
  • Workload / psychology
  • Workplace / psychology*