Prisoners of Love? Job Satisfaction in Care Work?

Jenny Chesters, Janeen Baxter

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)


    Previous research has established that paid care work is typically undertaken
    by women and that this work is often poorly rewarded in terms of pay
    and promotion opportunities. Much less is known about the reasons why
    women enter these jobs or their experiences of this work. This paper
    examines the motivations and experiences of two groups of care workers:
    childcare workers and dental assistants in Queensland in 2009 (N=1,767).
    We examine intrinsic, extrinsic and overall job satisfaction and the effects of
    job characteristics, work experience and demographic characteristics on job
    satisfaction. We find that childcare workers are less satisfied with their jobs
    than dental assistants on all three measures, despite a greater proportion
    nominating intrinsic reasons for entering the occupation. The most important
    factors predicting job satisfaction for both groups are day‑to‑day work
    experiences such as control over weekly rosters and entitlements that enable
    work‑family balance. We conclude that although love of the job may be a
    strong drawcard into care occupations for some women, experiences may
    not live up to expectations. Moreover, there is considerable diversity across
    these groups in motivations and outcomes indicating that it is impossible
    to view all care occupations as similar in terms rewards, outcomes and
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)49-67
    Number of pages19
    JournalAustralian Journal of Social Issues
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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