Do Preferences for Job Attributes Provide Evidence of 'Hierarchy of Needs'
We examine whether employees’ preferences for various job attributes are associated with their individual characteristics in ways that are in line with ‘hierarchy of needs’ theories. Using data from the fifth round of the European Social Survey, we observe the influence of socio-demographic and dispositional characteristics as well as socialization experiences on opinions regarding the importance of five different desirable job attributes. An item-by-item examination of the attributes (including ‘security’ and ‘offering a high income’) reveals that dispositional factors (measured using the battery of items in Schwartz’s theory of basic personal values) influence job attitudes in expected ways, but employees also tend to place more importance on attributes that concern them more directly. For example, while female employees care more about being able to combine work and family responsibilities, younger workers value training opportunities more highly than older ones. Regarding socialization experiences, we find that job security is more important for those who have been unemployed in the past. We interpret our findings to mean that hierarchy of needs theories are valid in the context of job attitudes in the sense that the ranking of preferred job attributes is quite predictable once individual characteristics are accounted for.
|Date of creation:||Jan 2012|
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