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  • National Economy Is Best Predictor of Job Satisfaction

     Gross Domestic Product Is Better Indicator than Personal or Job Factors

    The national gross domestic product (GDP) is a stronger predictor of job satisfaction than workers' personal or job-related characteristics, reports the March Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM).

    A macroeconomic indicator, GDP is the best predictor of job satisfaction — even compared to individual-level measures of career progress or mental health, according to a study by Christoph Augner, PhD, of University Clinics of the Paracelsus Medical University, Salzburg, Austria.

    Dr. Augner analyzed factors related to job satisfaction using data from 28 European Union countries. He found that job satisfaction was related to a wide range of personal, organizational, job-related, and political and economic factors.

    However, in a statistical model comparing all significant variables, the GDP — measuring a country’s overall economic output — was the single best predictor of workers’ job satisfaction. The GDP was the top predictor even compared to the strongest individual-level factors: workers' career advancement perspectives and depressive symptom scores.

    "Job satisfaction is a key indicator for assessing the quality of work places and [is] often related to health outcomes for employees," according to the author. While previous studies have identified personal and company factors associated with job satisfaction, less is known about the impact of macroeconomic factors such as GDP and unemployment rate. Dr. Augner adds, "There is growing scientific evidence that macroeconomics is relevant for health-related outcomes in employees."

    Of the wide range of factors studied, national GDP is the single best indicator of job satisfaction. Dr. Augner notes that a recently developed "Social Progress Indicator" — which integrates measures of basic human needs, well-being, and opportunity — was related to GDP, but not a significant predictor of job satisfaction. He concludes, "Our study shows that macroeconomic perspectives have to be considered when dealing with job satisfaction."

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    Citation –– Augner C. Job satisfaction in the European Union: the role of macroeconomic, personal, and job-related factors. J Occup Environ Med. 2015;57(3)241-5.

    About the Author — Dr Augner may be contacted for interviews at c.augner@salk.at.

    About ACOEM — ACOEM (www.acoem.org), an international society of 4,500 occupational physicians and other health care professionals, provides leadership to promote optimal health and safety of workers, workplaces, and environments.

    About the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine — The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (www.joem.org) is the official journal of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Edited to serve as a guide for physicians, nurses, and researchers, the clinically oriented research articles are an excellent source for new ideas, concepts, techniques, and procedures that can be readily applied in the industrial or commercial employment setting.