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Reworking Job Satisfaction in a Contemporary Higher Education Institution

Mphoreng Magdeline Mmako


The academic profession in South Africa faces great uncertainties in terms of its future. Focusing on academics’ job satisfaction and finding effective items that impact on the level of job satisfaction is crucial. The main purpose of this research is to examine the effects of demographics on levels of satisfaction among academics in a contemporary higher education institution in South Africa. A quantitative design using a survey approach was adopted for this study. The Job Descriptive Index inventory (JDI) was used to measure seven dimensions of job satisfaction among academic staff. A two-section questionnaire was administered to a quota sample of 500 academic staff in a university in South Africa. Data was analysed using descriptive statistics and one-way analysis (ANOVA). The findings indicated that academic staff were moderately satisfied with their jobs. However, the most significant job satisfaction factors that affected the level of academic job satisfaction were the physical work environment and promotional opportunities. The median group differences existed between responses based on age, gender, designation and years of service of the academic staff. Job satisfaction was also significantly associated with job-related factors such as relationships with colleagues, departmental management support, career opportunities and training, remuneration and the nature of the job. The findings of the current study may be used by managers in higher education institutions to improve the level of job satisfaction among academics in the sector, thus preventing further job dissatisfaction. The study provides evidence that job satisfaction could contribute to the success of the higher education sector. The study will be useful for university management in improving overall job satisfaction as it suggests some strategies for job satisfaction practices. The study also provides updated insights into the effects of demographics on levels of job satisfaction among academics in a contemporary higher education institution in the context of South Africa, thereby addressing a research gap in this subject.

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