Job Satisfaction in South Africa: The Quest for Job Quality




job satisfaction, job quality, work values, work rewards, South Africa


Job satisfaction is a key determinant in ensuring and maintaining a productive workforce. It is an outcome of the interaction between individual personal characteristics, work values, needs and expectations on one hand and work rewards or outcomes on the other hand. Job quality, in turn, ensures decent working conditions and livelihoods for workers. In this study, we investigated the distribution and determinants of job satisfaction of employed workers in South Africa, drawing on data collected through nationally representative surveys on social attitudes conducted in 2005 and 2015. The findings indicate that what workers seek (value) in a job exceeds their actual experience (outcomes), although the gap between expectation and outcome in the baseline survey has narrowed in the end-point survey. Furthermore, workers tend to favour job outcomes and rewards that are extrinsic in nature over intrinsic ones in current labour market conditions, yet shifts are discernible over time. Where extrinsic needs are satisfied, the importance of intrinsic ones increases.


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Author Biographies

Andries Masenge, University of Pretoria

Senior Research consultant

Department of statistics

University of Pretoria

Hatfield campus

Charles Puttergill, University of Pretoria

Senior Lecturer

Department of Sociology

University of Pretoria



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How to Cite

Mncwango, B., Masenge, A., & Puttergill, C. (2023). Job Satisfaction in South Africa: The Quest for Job Quality. African Journal of Employee Relations, 47, 28 pages .



Received 2022-07-13
Accepted 2023-09-13
Published 2023-12-13