WAW Findings – Job Enjoyment and Engagement at Work

To explore issues of job engagement and enjoyment for our participants, we asked a range of questions surrounding different work outcomes with widely-used and validated scales. The work outcomes we assessed include:

  • Work Engagement (Utrecht Work Engagement Scale, UWES-9; Schaufeli et al., 2002): A measure that assesses an employee’s experience of contentment at work and includes the experience of vigour, dedication and absorption in one’s work. On a scale of 0 (never) to 6 (always) women were asked how frequently they felt nine statements about their work, such as “I am enthusiastic about my job” and “I am proud of the work that I do.” Scale items were summed and an average scale score of 0 (low work engagement) to 6 (high work engagement) was computed. Thus higher scores indicate greater work engagement.
  • Organisational Commitment (Affective Commitment Scale, Meyer et al., 1993): A measure that assesses an employee’s emotional commitment, or emotional ties they have developed for the organisation they work for. On a scale of 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree) women were asked if they agreed with eight statements about the organisation they work for, such as “I would be very happy to spend the rest of my career with this organisation” and “This organisation has a great deal of personal meaning for me.” Scale items were summed and an average scale score of 1 (low organisational commitment) to 7 (high organisational commitment) was computed. Thus higher scores indicate greater commitment to the organisation.
  • Job Satisfaction (Job Satisfaction Scale, Cammann et al., 1983): A measure that assesses how content an individual is with their current job. On a scale of 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree) women were asked if they agreed with three statements about their job, such as “All in all, I am satisfied with my job” and “In general, I like working here.” Scale items were summed and an average scale score of 1 (low job satisfaction) to 7 (high job satisfaction) was computed. Thus higher scores indicate greater job satisfaction.
  • Intention to Quit (Intention to Turnover Scale, Cammann et al., 1983): A measure that assesses an employee’s intention to leave their current job. On a scale of 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree) women were asked if they agreed with three statements about their job, such as “I will probably look for a new job in the next year” and “I often think about quitting.” Scale items were summed and an average scale score of 1 (low intention to quit) to 7 (high intention to quit) was computed. Thus lower scores indicate less intention to quit their job.

The mean (average) scale scores for each work outcome are presented below in Table 5, by position type and age group. Standard deviations (measure of spread of the distribution) are presented in parentheses.

Table 5 – Mean work outcome scales scores by position type and age group*

  40–49 year olds (N=234) 50–59 year olds (N=228) 60+ year olds (N=49) Total(N=511)
  M (SD) M (SD) M (SD) M (SD)
Administrative Staff and Executive Level Staff
Work Engagement 3.9 (.9) 3.8 (.9) 4.1 (1.0) 3.9 (0.9)
Job Satisfaction 5.6 (1.2) 5.5 (1.2) 5.8 (1.3) 5.6 (1.2)
Organisational Commitment 4.5 (1.1) 4.6 (1.1) 4.9 (1.2) 4.5 (1.1)
Intention to Quit 3.1 (1.8) 2.8 (1.5) 2.2 (1.3) 2.8 (1.6)
  40–49 year olds (N=124) 50–59 year olds (N=157) 60+ year olds (N=47) Total(N=328)
  M (SD) M (SD) M (SD) M (SD)
Academic Staff
Work Engagement 4.1 (.8) 4.1 (.8) 4.2 (.8) 4.1 (.8)
Job Satisfaction 5.4 (1.5) 5.3 (1.3) 5.3 (1.5) 5.3 (1.4)
Organisational Commitment 3.9 (1.2) 4.0 (1.2) 4.2 (1.5) 4.0 (1.2)
Intention to Quit 3.2 (1.9) 3.2 (1.7) 2.7 (1.6) 3.1 (1.8)

*Tallies do not add to total N because of missing data.

On average, older women reported low intention to quit, high job satisfaction, average commitment to the organisation they work for and average work engagement.

The differences between mean scale scores for each work outcome were tested for statistical significance.

Overall, academic staff reported they were more engaged at work than administrative and executive level staff. In contrast, administrative and executive level staff reported they were more satisfied with their job and more affectively committed to their organisation than their academic colleagues. Academic staff were more likely to report that they intended to quit than administrative and executive level staff.

Among administrative and executive level staff, women aged between 40 and 49 years reported to have a greater intention to quit their jobs than their older colleagues aged between 50 and 59 years and those aged 60 years or older.

No significant age differences in mean scale scores were observed among academic staff.

Health and Well-being
Women were asked a number of questions regarding their health status and lifestyle factors. Key health indicators are presented below in Table 6.

Table 6 – Health indicators by age group*

  40–49 year olds (N=358) 50–59 year olds (N=385) 60+ year olds (N=96) Total(N=839)
  % (n) % (n) % (n) % (n)
BMI
Underweight 0.7 (2) 0.6 (2) 1.3 (1) 0.7 (5)
Normal 49.0 (144) 42.6 (142) 39.5 (30) 45.0 (316)
Overweight 34.0 (100) 33.0 (110) 40.8 (31) 34.3 (241)
Obese 16.3 (48) 23.7 (79) 18.4 (14) 20.0 (141)
Physical activity^
Adequate physical activity according to guidelines 56.2 (199) 53.2 (200) 48.4 (46) 53.9 (445)
Inadequate physical activity according to guidelines 43.8 (155) 46.8 (176) 51.6 (49) 46.1 (380)
Smoking status
Non-smoker 94.6 (335) 92.9 (354) 94.7 (90) 93.9 (779)
Smoker 5.4 (19) 7.1 (27) 5.3 (5) 6.1 (51)
Drinking status^^
Non-drinker 7.1 (25) 8.8 (33) 7.4 (7) 7.9 (65)
1-2 drinks on occasion that they drink 75.0 (264) 74.5 (281) 82.1 (78) 75.6 (623)
3 or more drinks on occasion that they drink 17.9 (63) 16.7 (63) 10.5 (10) 16.5 (136)

*Tallies do not add to total N because of missing data.

^ Physical activity levels classified according to The National Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults (Commonwealth Department of Health, 1999).

^^ Drinking status classified according to The Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol (National Health and Medical Research Council, 2009).

As shown in Table 6, according to the Body Mass Index (BMI) rating, more than half of the sample (54.4%) had a BMI that indicated they were overweight or obese. 53.9% of the sample reported to be engaging in enough physical activity to meet current Australian guidelines (at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity: Commonwealth Department of Health, 1999).

Only 6.1% of the sample reported they were current smokers and only 16.5% of the sample reported they were drinking at levels considered to be harmful in terms of lifetime risk (i.e. drinking more than two standard drinks on any day that they drink: National Health and Medical Research Council, 2009).

None of these health indicators differed significantly by age group.

We also examined a number of different health and well-being outcomes with widely-used and validated scales. The health and well-being outcomes we assessed include:

  • Physical Health (Physical Component Summary Measure, SF-12v2; Maruish, 2012): A measure that includes questions that assess physical functioning and degree of bodily pain. This component is weighted (Maruish, 2012; Sanderson & Andrews, 2002) and is scored on a scale of 0 (poor physical health) – 100 (excellent physical health). Thus higher scores indicate better physical health.
  • Mental Health (Mental Component Summary Measure, SF-12v2; Maruish, 2012): A measure that includes questions that assess mental health and emotional functioning. This component is weighted (Maruish, 2012; Sanderson & Andrews, 2002) and is scored on a scale of 0 (poor mental health) – 100 (excellent mental health). Thus higher scores indicate better mental health.
  • Life Satisfaction (Satisfaction with Life Scale, Diener et al., 1985): A five item scale that assesses how satisfied the respondent is with their life as a whole. On a scale of 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree) women were asked if they agreed with five statements about their life, such as “In most ways my life is close to my ideal” and “The conditions of my life are excellent.” Scale items were summed and a scale score of 5 (low life satisfaction) to 35 (high life satisfaction) was computed. Thus higher scores indicate greater life satisfaction.

The mean (average) scale scores for each health outcome are presented below in Table 7, by age group. Standard deviations are presented in parentheses.

Table 7 – Mean health and well-being scale scores, by age group*

  40–49 year olds (N=358) 50–59 year olds (N=385) 60+ year olds (N=96) Total(N=839)
  M (SD) M (SD) M (SD) M (SD)
Physical Health^ 55.3 (6.8) 53.3 (8.6) 52.1 (8.2) 54.0 (7.9)
Mental Health^ 45.8 (10.1) 47.0 (10.1) 49.9 (9.2) 46.8 (10.1)
Life Satisfaction 24.9 (6.9) 24.2 (6.9) 24.3 (6.5) 24.5 (6.9)

*Tallies do not add to total N because of missing data.

^Scales are weighted with US norming data, whereby M=50, SD=10 (Maruish, 2012; Sanderson & Andrews, 2002).

As shown in Table 7, respondents in all age groups reported average to good mental and physical health and well-being, with some variation by age.

As can be seen in Table 7, physical health worsened with age, whereby women aged between 40 and 49 years reported better physical health than their older colleagues aged between 50 and 59 years and those aged 60 years and older.

In contrast, mental health appeared to improve with age, whereby women aged 60 years or over reported better mental health than their younger colleagues aged between 40 and 49 years and 50 and 59 years.

Life satisfaction did not differ significantly by age group.

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