What ‘Job Satisfaction’ Really Means And Why It’s So Important

Author: Antoinette Morris

Posted: 06 Dec 2022

Estimated time to read: 5 mins

It’s time to discuss Job Satisfaction and its effect on staff wellbeing. With longstanding challenges in both school recruitment and retention still ongoing, it’s more important now than ever before that senior leaders take proactive steps to understand and improve the wellbeing of their staff.

But what role does Job Satisfaction play exactly? And what steps can school leaders take to improve it?

What is Job Satisfaction?

Simply put, job satisfaction in an individual is an overall feeling that they are happy with the job that they are doing. 

This doesn’t mean that an employee has to feel happy every second of every day in the workplace. Every job, dream job or way to pay the bills, will have good days and bad days. Being satisfied in your job takes these good and bad days into consideration, of course, but is far less turbulent. A sentiment developed over the course of time and experience. 

You could almost call job satisfaction a kind of unconscious mental calculation. Without you even knowing, your brain weighs up the pros and cons or the good and the bad of the job that you are doing. The result? The honest answer you’d give if someone asked you whether you liked your job. 

What’s especially important to understand here is that the combination of factors that play into that calculation are different for everyone. What job satisfaction is based on, looks like and feels like are going to be different for each individual member of staff. 

Factors Affecting Job Satisfaction

The amount of satisfaction that an individual employee gets from their job is completely dependent on who they are and what they want. Some might thrive in the safety and security of a job that’s always the same each day, while others enjoy the challenge of something more dynamic. Some love to throw themselves into work as much as possible, while others want to work as few hours as they can so they have time to pursue personal projects and interests. Below are some of the factors that may affect job satisfaction in a school environment: 

Appreciation and Recognition 

In our last blog post, we discussed the effect of appreciation and recognition on staff wellbeing. Nobody wants to feel like their hard work goes unnoticed or unappreciated and feeling valued by your team or manager can have an enormous impact on how satisfied you are with your job. 

Missed our free Appreciation and Recognition webinar? Catch up here


Salary always has been and always will be an important factor in job satisfaction for most workers. This has been further amplified by the UK’s cost of living crisis, with many teachers in particular struggling to make ends meet with their current salaries. Salaries should be a fair reflection of the skill and time it takes to do a job, but rarely are. Budgetary constraints taken into account, it’s important for senior leaders to review staff salaries on a regular basis and get them as close as possible to this fair reflection. 

Working hours 

Outsiders often look at a 4pm school day finish and misunderstand the long hours that school staff work. Achieving a healthy work-life balance can have a massive impact on job satisfaction, with staff that establish clear boundaries between their home and school lives enjoying better mental health and much higher levels of wellbeing. 

Management style 

Some feel more supported and reassured when regularly checked on by their managers, while others prefer to be given the breathing space to do things their way. When the management style of the senior team is compatible with how the employees work best, not only is job satisfaction improved, but productivity grows too. A good manager understands the needs of their team and adapts their style to suit. 

Career development 

Opportunities for progression and professional development are easy to overlook, particularly in a school environment. Staff may feel stifled and dissatisfied if they feel like there isn’t any room for professional growth. 

Community values 

Every school has their own unique set of values that act as the foundation of the school community. Staff that feel aligned to those values are more likely to enjoy their work. 


The Benefits of High Job Satisfaction Levels

Now we know which factors might be impacting job satisfaction, but how do high levels of job satisfaction affect staff wellbeing and productivity if achieved? 

It's simple. High satisfaction levels = higher levels of wellbeing and productivity. 

Below are some of the benefits that a high level of job satisfaction can bring you and your staff: 

Higher levels of staff wellbeing 

Staff that are happy and satisfied with their jobs are more likely to be satisfied and happy in general. Work takes up such a large portion of our time, so of course being unhappy at work affects our overall wellbeing!  

Increased staff retention 

It’s only logical that happy, satisfied staff are more likely to stay in the same job longer. Spending time making your current staff happier is far more productive than time spent searching for new employees over and over again

Better quality of teaching and learning

Staff that feel satisfied and fulfilled and work tend to work better. In the case of teachers, that means delivering a higher quality of teaching to your students. 

How Can Senior Leaders Help to Build Job Satisfaction?

Looking to learn more about the effect of Job Satisfaction? Satchel teamed up with education expert Jon Tait for a webinar on the role Job Satisfaction plays in influencing staff wellbeing. 

Staff Wellbeing Webinar Series: Job Satisfaction

Missed out webinar on Job? Sign up here to receive the recording!

This webinar discussed:

  • Why ‘Job Satisfaction’ is important for staff wellbeing
  • How can we gather data on this area of wellbeing 
  • Actionable strategies for improving staff wellbeing