LinkedIn published an analysis of its research that explored how people feel about compensation in various job roles, and the data adds credence to the theory that job satisfaction doesn’t necessarily equate to pay.
LinkedIn’s Workforce Confidence Index, which surveyed over 20,000 U.S. professionals, revealed that product managers are the most satisfied group — with 60% feeling well compensated for their role. This positive sentiment was shared in tech-related fields such as research (57%), engineering (54%), and information technology (53%). On the flipside, only 38% of those in education felt their pay was adequate.
According to LinkedIn’s data, healthcare services, arts and design, administration, and sales also reported lower levels of pay satisfaction — all with 45% or less feeling well compensated.
These perceptions often align with actual pay scales. For instance, product managers, grouped with marketing managers by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), earn an average of $158,280 annually. In contrast, the education sector sees average earnings of $63,240, with primary and secondary school teachers often earning even less.
However, there are anomalies. Researchers, for example, don’t earn exceptionally high salaries (averaging $74,330), but 57% responded as feeling well compensated, according to LinkedIn. This suggests that job satisfaction isn’t solely about pay but also about passion and the intrinsic value of the work.
Sales professionals present another notable case. While some roles in sales offer lucrative packages, only 45% reported feeling that they are adequately compensated. The complex compensation structures in sales, coupled with the vast differences in earnings within the sector, might contribute to this sentiment.
As the workforce evolves and demand for flexibility increases, companies must recognize that compensation is a significant factor in job satisfaction, but it’s not the only one. Finding a great work-life balance and a sense of purpose also play important roles.
The trend highlighted by LinkedIn suggests that as industries grow and change, so will perceptions of fair compensation. It’s a dynamic that businesses executives and leaders must monitor closely to ensure that they remain competitive and attractive to top talent.