Trainers and Job Satisfaction

By Kirk, James | Training & Development Journal, December 1988 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Trainers and Job Satisfaction


Kirk, James, Training & Development Journal


Trainers and Job Satisfaction After working 20 years as a public school teacher, I started to wonder if I would be happier as a human resource developer. I'd heard training and development touted as a highly satisfying profession made up of people from diverse backgrounds. Yet my associates cautioned me: "Training isn't all it's cracked up to be," adding to my confusion. I wanted to get the true picture for myself.

I decided to launch my own investigation into career satisfaction among trainers. I mailed questionnaires to 500 HRD practitioners, randomly selected from the 1986 ASTD Membership Directory. I wanted to find out if HRD people really are more satisfied with their training careers than they were with their former fields. I wanted to know what job satisfaction among trainers can tell us about American workers in general. Of the 361 responses I received, 240 had at least five years of full-time HRD experience; they formed the data base for my study and this article. Most were male and 31 to 40 years old, with five to ten years of training experience (see Figure 1).

By and large, a happy lot

I discovered that practitioners who have switched into HRD positions from other fields are significantly more satisfied with their current positions. Statistical analysis of the survey results generally finds trainers a happy lot.

According to the survey, HRD practitioners tend to give training higher marks than they give their former positions, because, in part, HRD gives them the chance to do different things, make use of their abilities, try their own methods, and earn satisfactory pay compared to the amount of work they do (see Figure 2). Earlier studies also have reported higher relative pay and control over the work environment as factors trainers like about their jobs. Overall, the respondents were only slightly more satisfied with the way co-workers in the training profession get along with one another and that their duties don't include doing things against their consciences. The opportunity for steady employment rated a slight decrease in satisfaction levels. Respondents reported that extrinsic factors (the work environment) and intrinsic one (the work itself) improved about equally when they switched to HRD careers.

Why training?

No well-defined path leading to careers in HRD emerged from this study. Before switching fields, the respondents had worked in a variety of fields, including management and teaching or counseling. The largest percentage entered training as non-professionals in clerical, sales, or production-oriented jobs. Most practitioners seemed to have entered the field "through the back door." They gained experience in other fields before becoming trainers, as opposed to entering HRD straight out of college. Many people reported they first became involved in training activities on a part-time basis. Such prior work experience appeared critical to landing a job in training. The experience itself seemed more important than the particular field.

People in the survey became trainers for many reasons: "I did some training in previous jobs and enjoyed it greatly"; "I changed to HRD from education because teaching children under the present conditions was no longer satisfying"; "HRD seemed more appropriate to my needs"; "I really wanted to work with people"; "Professional work is more fulfilling than clerical work."

The survey responses revealed no single rationale for entering HRD. Yet, in contrast to other studies, practitioners surveyed here displayed relatively high levels of satisfaction with their previous jobs. It did not appear that adverse conditions in their other careers, such as plateauing or performance pressure, unduly influenced them to "escape" their former jobs. Their career moves seemed to have been influenced more by an attraction to the training field.

Measuring job satisfaction

To measure whether today's human resource developers are more satisfied with their training and development careers than they were with their former jobs, the 240 full-time practitioners completed two Short-Form Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaires.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Trainers and Job Satisfaction
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?