Gender Role in Job Satisfaction: The Case of the U.S. Information Technology Professionals

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

The subject of job satisfaction is considered to be one of the most studied work related attitudes by organizational behaviorists and human resources researchers in both private and public sectors (Bedeian, Ferris, & Kacmar, 1992; Clark 1997; Durst & DeSantis, 1997; Ellickson & Logsdon, 2001; Jung & Moon, 2007; Lewis, 1991; Ting, 1997; Wright & Kim, 2004). It is no surprise that more than 12,000-job satisfaction studies were published by the early 1990s (Kinicki, McKee-Ryan, Schriesheim, Carson, 2002; Kreitner & Kinicki, 2007).

According to Ghazzawi (2008-a), information technology professionals have not been a major focus of study, and today's literature provides few insights on the subject of job satisfaction in the information technology industry. Such industry controls most aspects of our lives and thus deserves much attention. This profession employs people from all ages and different genders with a mission to cope with the challenges of this borderless world. While an earlier research by the author titled "Job satisfaction among information technology professionals in the U.S.: An empirical study" was published earlier (Ghazzawi, 2008-a); this research is a continuation of the aforementioned paper, but it focuses on the subject of gender.

It is important to stress that while the literature has placed a major emphasis on the subject of job satisfaction, very few researchers have studied the role of gender in job satisfaction in the information technology industry in the United States or in other countries. Most of the research associated with the significance of gender in job satisfaction has been general and not industry specific. This paper is focused on studying the effects of gender on job satisfaction of IT professionals out of a belief that every industry has its own unique differences that differentiates it from other industries.

Through collected data from 132 IT professionals from various organizations in Southern California, using the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire "MSQ" (the general satisfaction scale-the short form); the study tested the gender factors on job satisfaction through the use of descriptive statistics.

THE PURPOSE OF THIS STUDY

According to the U.S. Department of Labor- Bureau of Labor Statistics (2009), the U.S. employs over 3.05 million IT professionals of all skill levels annually. This number rose from 3,084,000 in 1997 to a peak of 3,631,000 in 2000, and then declined to 3,055,000 in 2006. However, the employment of computer and information systems managers is expected to grow 16 percent over the 2006-16 decade, which is faster than the average for all occupations (U.S. Department of Labor, 2008).

Additionally, computer software engineering is projected to be one of the fastest growing occupations over the 2006-2016 periods, with a projected increase in employment by 38 percent over the 2006 to 2016 period (U.S. Department of Labor, 2008). Only the employment of computer programmers is expected to decrease by 4 percent for the same period (i.e. 2006 to 2016) due to consolidation and centralization of systems and applications, advances in programming languages and tools, and to the offshore outsourcing of programming jobs (U.S. Department of Labor, 2008). The reason this study focuses on the gender of IT professionals is that this subject has received scant attention from researchers, despite the importance of IT pros' contributions to today's organizations.

THEORETICAL FOUNDATIONS OF THE STUDY

In today's economy, employees' choices of employment and job mobility are limited compared with a few years ago. Employees are also limited in their ability to choose careers that reflect their abilities, personalities, and personal choice (person-job fit). Since the recession began in December 2007, America's labor market has lost 4.4 million jobs; its employment rate rose to a quarter century high of 8. …