Physical Science Professors Have Greatest Job Satisfaction

By Kelly Trong, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Special to

Who has the greatest rate of job satisfaction among untenured assistant professors at research universities? According to a survey done by the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE), faculty members in the physical sciences have the greatest rate of job satisfaction.

Researchers at the Harvard Graduate School of Education surveyed 9,512 pre-tenure faculty members on their satisfaction (in more than 100 aspects of their work lives). The assistant professors were from 63 public and private universities around the country.

Some factors surveyed included:

  • tenure clarity and expectations
  • compensation and benefits
  • balancing work and life
  • the nature of their teaching and research
  • job climate and culture
  • overall satisfaction

The physical sciences ranked among the top three academic disciplines in approximately half the survey aspects, and among the bottom three in only six.

The humanities followed the physical sciences in terms of high satisfaction in the most aspects, while education and the visual and performing arts ranked lowest in satisfaction in the greatest number of areas. The study also found that women expressed less job satisfaction than their male colleagues.

Job Satisfaction by Disciplinary Area
1. Physical sciences
2. Humanities
3. Agriculture/natural resources/environmental science
4. Business
5. Social sciences
6. Medical schools and health professions
7. Biological sciences
8. Engineering/computer science/math/statistics
9. Education
10. Other professions: journalism, law, architecture, etc.
*11. Visual and performing arts
*11. Health and human ecology
(*Tied for last place)

Read the rest of the article on the Chronicle of Higher Education website, Physical Science Professors Have Greatest Job Satisfaction.

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