Objectives: This study aimed to identify and compare predictors of job satisfaction between instructional and clinical faculty members.
Methods: A 61-item faculty job satisfaction survey was distributed to 1898 academic faculty members at the University of Michigan Medical School. The anonymous survey was web-based. Questions covered topics on departmental organisation, research, clinical and teaching support, compensation, mentorship, and promotion. Levels of satisfaction were contrasted between faculty members on the two tracks, and predictors of job satisfaction were identified using linear regression models.
Results: Response rates for the instructional and clinical faculty groups were 43.1% and 46.7%, respectively. Clinical faculty members reported being less satisfied with how they were mentored and fewer reported understanding the process for promotion. There was no significant difference in overall job satisfaction between the two faculty groups. Surprisingly, clinical faculty members with mentors were significantly less satisfied with how they were mentored and with career advancement, and were significantly less likely to choose an academic career if they had to do it all over again compared with instructional faculty mentees. Additionally, senior-level clinical faculty members were significantly less satisfied with their opportunities to mentor junior faculty members compared with senior-level instructional faculty staff. Significant predictors of job satisfaction for both groups included areas of autonomy, meeting career expectations, work-life balance, and departmental leadership. In the clinical track only, compensation and career advancement variables also emerged as significant predictors of overall job satisfaction.
Conclusions: Greater emphasis must be placed on faculty members' well-being at both the institutional level and the level of departmental leadership. Efforts to enhance job satisfaction and improve retention are more likely to succeed if they are directed by locally designed assessments involving department chairs and are specifically aimed at fostering more effective mentoring relationships and increasing the opportunities available for career advancement activities such as research work. Our findings show that these strategies can have significant impacts on job satisfaction and the retention of clinical track faculty members.
© Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2010.