Job Satisfaction vs Salary – What Matters Most

Dan Daltrey, October 8, 2018

Everyone knows the feeling. The anguish of crawling out of bed on a Monday morning, forcing yourself to get to that job you loath - all for that sweet payday at the end of the month.

But what’s more important, getting out of the cycle of unsatisfying jobs, or adding a few more 0’s to the end of that payslip? We’re here to help you work that out.

What is Job Satisfaction?

The benefits of having a higher salary are obvious; the more money you earn the better your quality of life outside of work. However, as is often the case with higher paying positions, the more you get paid can often correlate with having increased stress and pressure in the workplace.

Job satisfaction is a bit trickier to define. It’s different for everyone depending on what makes you happy. Some people thrive in high pressure environments and enjoy the hustle and bustle of more senior roles.

For others, this comes from doing meaningful work and making an impact or having a great work environment that you can thrive in and enjoy. You may prefer being more hands on with your work, taking pleasure from the fruits of your labour.


Taking from the Japanese philosophy of ‘Ikigai’ is an excellent way of working out whether you’re getting the most out of your current career. It can help you to work out what matters most to you in your career.

As you can see from the diagram on the left, to achieve Ikigai you should have a balance between doing something you love and is meaningful, while making sure it’s something you’re good at and can get paid for.

While you may not be able to achieve all of these in your career, ticking as many of these boxes as possible is a good way to find contentment in what you’re doing.

Why not both?

In the end, you have to find the right balance that works for you. This balance may also change throughout your life. You may start your career driven to work long hours and make as much money as possible. However, you may find later in your life that you want more time to spend with the family and slow down.

It’s all about assessing where you are in your life and what you want from your career. Of course, if you find a vocation you love and get paid well for, then take that opportunity with both hands. An opportunity like that doesn’t come around every day!