Measuring job satisfaction in surveys: Hungary
Comparative analytical report
This report has not been subjected to the standard Foundation editorial procedures
This Hungarian national report is part of a comparative overview (EF/06/55/EN) of how job
satisfaction is measured in national working conditions surveys based on 16 national
contributions for the European Working Conditions Observatory (EWCO).
Aim and structure of the comparative analytical report
The main objective of this comparative analytical report is to assess if and how the job satisfaction
issue is dealt in the national surveys and to bring forward some data and trends on job satisfaction.
This comparative analytical report shall reveal how national surveys produce data on job satisfaction,
focusing on the methodologies used and shall present available data on job satisfaction.
Thus, the questionnaire is divided into three main sections. The first section is mainly focused on the
national surveys dealing with job satisfaction (priority given to the national working conditions
surveys) and the methodological frame used. In this section, the national correspondents are basically
asked to identify which surveys deal with job satisfaction, what questions are made, how questions are
made and what definitions are used in those questions.
The second section is addressed to gather available data on general job satisfaction and job satisfaction
broken down by some of its determinants. Whenever it is possible, trends should be identified.
Finally, the last section is focused on the analytical aspects of job satisfaction. In this section, national
correspondents are asked to identify correlations between job satisfaction and other variables related to
organisational practices that may be present in national surveys data reports and to identify interesting
pieces of conceptual or meta analysis of job satisfaction.
Section 1: Survey sources and questions
1 – Is job satisfaction an issue addressed in your national working conditions surveys? Do other
national surveys include any questions on job satisfaction?
Please identify sources and survey methodology (also mention first year of implementation,
regularity (periodicity), time frame (e.g. over the last twelve months), population, sample size
and frame, data collection methodology, etc.).
In Hungary there are no national surveys targeted especially to the question related to the
issue ‘job satisfaction’. In the last decade though a national and four international surveys
were carried out which partly touched on some dimension of the issue. These surveys were
Table 1: Characteristics of surveys dealing with the issue of job satisfaction
Name Target Date Size of Sampling Number of Refusal
population sample method respondents rate
National Hungarian October till 7000 Multi- 5029 (72 %) 11 %
Health adult December people staged
Interview population in 2003 stratified
Survey (18 + years) sampling
(OLEF) (one adult
Labour Economically 2001 and The Multi-stage 29 165 2,4%
Force active and 2004 (Ad quarterly stratified
Survey inactive hoc module sample sample
(LFS) population on work includes
aged 15–74 organisation about 38,
and work 000
arrangement and 68, 000
- (EC) No persons
International Economically 1989, 1997 1000, 1500 Multi- 601, 626
Social active (Work
Survey population Orientation
Programme aged 18 and Module
(ISSP) over targeted for
European Economically 2003 1000 75,1 %
Quality of active people
Life Survey population
(EQLS) aged 18 and
European Employees 2001 1000 Multi-stage
Working and self- people random
Conditions employed selection
Survey people over (‘random
(EWCS) 15 walk’)
Denki The electric 1984-85, 900 people Multi-stage 517 (57 %)
Rengo and the 1994-96 stratified
Trade electronic and 1999- sample
Union’s industry 2001
As mentioned before in Hungary there are no specific surveys aimed for measuring the
indicators of job satisfaction. The surveys presented above are dealing only with specific
dimensions of the issue. In the following, we provide a brief overview of the questions used in
1. In the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) 2003 dimensions of job satisfaction are
measured indirectly. The questionnaire contains two questions on the autonomy in work and
one question dealing with job insecurity. Two scales measure the following dimensions of
autonomy at work: control over work (determination of the amount and pace of work and
influence on others’ work), control over worktime (ability to finish work in the regular
working hours) and psychological job demand. Job insecurity was measured by the extent of
afraid of losing one’s job.
NHIS2003 Q66. ‘During your everyday work to what extent can you
• determine the amount of work that should be done?
• determine the pace of your own work?
• influence others’ work?(Completely/To some extent/To small
extent/Not at all)’
NHIS2003 Q67 ‘To what extent do you agree with the statements listed below?
I can usually finish my work during the working hours.
My work involves a lot of stress.
My work puts me under a large amount of physical strain.
(Completely/To some extent/To small extent/Not at all)’
NHIS2003 (Q69) ‘Are you afraid of loosing your job? (Yes, extremely/Yes, moderately/No,
not at all)’
2. In the supplementary survey (ad-hoc module) of Labour Force Survey (LFS) one question
was dedicated to work autonomy, six questions to work time arrangement and seven questions
were related to employees’ participation, among which none question was directly dealing
with job satisfaction in general. Job satisfaction with work pattern was measured by the
following multiple-choice question:
LFS Q6. ‘Is your work pattern convenient for your personal life situation? (Yes/No)’
3. In the Work Orientation Module (WOM) of the ISSP survey one question is dedicated to
job satisfaction in a form of Likert scale measuring the general attitude of the interviewees.
ISSP WOM Q22 ‘How satisfied are you in your (main) job? (Completely satisfied/Very
satisfied/Fairly satisfied/Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied/Fairly dissatisfied/Very
4. In he European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) job satisfaction was directly
measured by one question, which was addressed to identify the amount of satisfaction with
the working conditions.:
EWCS Q34. ‘On the whole, are you very satisfied, fairly satisfied, not very satisfied or not at
all satisfied with working conditions in your main paid job? (Very satisfied/Fairly
satisfied/Not very satisfied/Not at all satisfied)’
5. In the Denki Rengo (DR) survey various dimension of job satisfaction were measured:
general and particular job satisfaction.
DR Q17. ‘To what extent are you satisfied with your current job? (‘Very satisfied/Fairly
satisfied/More or less satisfied/Fairly dissatisfied/Very dissatisfied)’
DR Q27. ‘To what extent are you satisfied with the working conditions in your current job?
(‘Very satisfied/Fairly satisfied/More or less satisfied/Fairly dissatisfied/Very dissatisfied)’
DR Q28. ‘To what extent are you satisfied with the work load in your current job? (‘Very
satisfied/Fairly satisfied/More or less satisfied/Fairly dissatisfied/Very dissatisfied)’
DR Q29. ‘To what extent are you satisfied with the extent of work in your current job? (‘Very
satisfied/Fairly satisfied/More or less satisfied/Fairly dissatisfied/Very dissatisfied)’
Section 2: Survey data and trends
4 – Provide data, including trends if possible, on general job satisfaction.
Unfortunately, we have only fragmented data on the issue of job satisfaction in Hungary. This
is primarily due to the already mentioned characteristic of the surveys conducted in this field,
namely that they are part of large international social science researches and thus the data set
is hardly available for a national analysis. However, we found job satisfaction related data in
five surveys which are the following: Working Conditions Survey in the Acceding and
Candidate Countries, International Social Survey Programme, Working time and working
arrangement (LFS ad-hoc module), the longitudinal Denki Rengo Survey and the Survey on
Quality of Life in Europe. In the next step, we will present the data in the available
According to the results of the Working Conditions Survey, the ‘Age and gender do not play a
key role in the degree of satisfaction with working conditions. On the other hand, employment
status, occupation, sector and country play a big role.’1 As it is shown in the Figure 1, vast
majority (80%) of the examined population is relatively or very satisfied with their working
conditions, while one fifth of respondents were not very satisfied or not at all satisfied.
Figure 1: Degree of satisfaction with the working conditions in the EU-15, the NMS-10 and in
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Source: Paoli, P. and Parent-Thirion, A (2003) Working Conditions Survey, p. 72.
We gained similar results from the ISSP survey, where job satisfaction was asked in its
broadest sense:2 almost two third of respondents were fairly – very or completely satisfied
with his/her current job. The most significant difference between the results of the two
surveys was that in the latter case, nearly 20% occupied a neutral position hesitating between
satisfaction and dissatisfaction, while the proportion of those who were not satisfied to some
extent did not reach 7% (see the following table).
Paoli, P. and Parent-Thirion, A. (2003) Working Conditions in the Acceding and Candidate Countries,
Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, p. 71.
‘To what extent are you satisfied with your current job?’
Table 2: Degree of job satisfaction
Percent Cumulative Percent
Completely satisfied 16,6 16,6
Very satisfied 18,3 34,9
Fairly satisfied 39,4 74,3
Not satisfied, nor dissatisfied 19,6 93,8
Fairly dissatisfied 3,0 96,8
Very dissatisfied 1,9 98,7
Completely dissatisfied 1,1 99,8
Don’t know 0,2 100
In the ad hoc module of LFS a special dimension of job satisfaction was measured:
‘convenience with the work time arrangement’. The results suggest that more than 90 % of
the employees are satisfied with their work time schedule. There are two sectors where
employees (both males and females) consider that their working time arrangements are less
convenient: hospitality (hotels and restaurants) and health care/social work.
Denki Rengo survey was the only longitudinal type research focusing on the workers
attitudes towards work. Measuring satisfaction with work or job we may distinguish the
following two indicators: ‘general job satisfaction’ and ‘partial job satisfaction’. The first
indicator measures the global satisfaction of persons surveyed with their work, while the latter
is reflecting the satisfaction of employees with various aspects of work (e.g. employment and
working conditions, supervisor, co-workers etc.) In the Denki Rengo survey, both
measurements were used. Evaluating the Hungarian data, we may say that the general level of
job satisfaction has increased substantially and the dissatisfaction has decreased between
1994-1996 and 1999-2001. The first survey was carried out in the period of the deep
economic and social restructuring (e.g. mass privatisation, two digit unemployment and
inflation rate, etc.). Even this period the share of persons who were less satisfied (‘more or
less satisfied’) was only little higher (6.4 %) than the share of persons belonging into the
category of the ‘very’ and ‘fairly’ satisfied. Dissatisfied employees (‘fairly’ and ‘very’
dissatisfied) represented one tenth of the employees of the sector. Five years later, the share of
satisfied employees increased significantly (from 40.6 % to 57.8 %) and the less satisfied
decreased (from 47 % to 36.2 %), whilst the rate of dissatisfaction with work decreased from
10.9 % to 5.8 %.
Table 3: How are you satisfied with your present work?
Items of Satisfaction 1994-1996 1999-2001
Satisfied (‘very satisfied +
40.6 % 57.8 %
‘More or less satisfied’ 47.0 % 36.2 %
dissatisfied + very 10.9 % 5.8 %
No answers 1.5 % 0.2 %
Total 100.0 % 100.0 %
Note: Satisfaction with working-life was measured on 5-point scale, where 1= very
satisfied and 5=very dissatisfied (Own calculation, using the data from the 1994-1996 and
the 1999-2001 Denki Rengo international survey carried out in the electric and the
Source: Ishikawa – Martin – Morawski – Rus 2000:14.
Using the indicator of the ‘partial satisfaction with job’ we may say that the share of the
satisfied employees (‘very satisfied’ + ‘fairly satisfied’) has increased significantly between
the two periods. The main explanatory factor behind this phenomenon is the growing
importance of the employment status that is being inserted in the labour market.
Table 4: How far are you satisfied with the following issues? (The Case of
Satisfaction with Satisfied (‘Very and fairly satisfied’)
Working conditions 21.2 % 66.2 %
Work load 29.0 % 68.8 %
The extent of work 46.0 % 74.1 %
In the context of the emerging and developing market economy and the globalisation,
‘identity with the firms’ or ‘loyalty to the firm’ is increasing in comparison with the period of
the sate-socialist firm. For example, the share of workers who are eager to ‘maximise’ their
performance increased considerable between 1984-85 and 1999-2001. Similarly, the share of
employees who have no particular feelings or are indifferent towards their company decreased
drastically (from 19.0 % to 10.8 % or from 20 % to 1.3 %) within the same period (Table 5).
Table 5: What are your feelings towards the company you are working for?
(The Case of Hungary
Feelings toward the company 1984-85 1994-1996 1999-2001
1. ‘I would like to put my best efforts 25.0 % 28.0 % 34.8 %
toward company’s success’
2. ‘I would like to give as much 52,7 % 56.7 % 50.9 %
efforts to the company as the
company gives me in reward’
3. ‘I don’t have much feeling toward 19.0 % 13.1 % 10.8 %
4. ‘I am indifferent to any matters 20.0 % 1.2 1.9 %
concerning the company’
No answer 1.3 % 1,0 % 1.6 %
Total 100.0 % 100.0 % 100.0 %
Quality of Life in Europe Survey (First Results of a new pan-European Survey)
This survey did not address directly the issue of job satisfaction but focused on various
features of the ‘quality of job’. In this relation, it is worth presenting the attitudes of
respondents toward both positive and negative characteristics of work. These ‘proxy-
indicators’ may inform us indirectly on the general state of job satisfaction of the respondents
surveyed in the NMS and the three candidate countries (CC3). The Table 6 informs us about
the attitudes of persons surveyed towards various characteristics of work expressing the
quality of jobs. In various job characteristics the employees in the EU-15 countries assess
their job quality higher than their colleagues in both the NMS and CC3. Hungary has a rather
low rating (‘minimum’) in relation with the ‘positive job characteristics’ both among the
NMS and the EU-15 countries.
Table 6: Proportion of respondents who agree or strongly agree with various
statements about their jobs (2003)
‘My job offers ‘I have a great
good prospects deal of influence
‘I am well paid’
Countries for career in deciding how
advancement’ to do my work’
NMS Mean 31 % 24 % 52 %
Min Hungary (14 %) Hungary (15 %) Hungary (37 %)
Max Malta (38 %) Cyprus (50 %) Slovenia (70 %)
EU-25 Mean 34 % 39 % 63 %
Min Hungary (14 %) Hungary (15 %) Hungary (37 %)
Max U. K. (47 %)
Section 3: Secondary analysis of survey data on job satisfaction
5 – Is there any assessment of the relationship between job satisfaction and other
variables related to organisational practices/independent work-related practices in
national surveys data analysis/reports? Briefly mention the main findings on the cross-
tabulation between the following factors and job satisfaction: job autonomy, working
time and WLB issues, and worker participation/involvement.
As we mentioned before, the existing publications do not contain any national level analysis
on the relationship between job satisfaction and other variables of organisational practices
and/or work-related stress and income/salary.
6 – Please answer one of the following questions (6a, 6b or 6c - 500 words maximum):
6a – Are there any examples of interesting conceptual or meta-analysis of job
satisfaction per se – interpretative approaches to job satisfaction? Please summarise the
6b – Are there any examples of interesting survey approaches to quantifying and
measuring job satisfaction – methodological aspects of capturing job satisfaction data in
surveys? Please summarise the main findings.
In the surveys we presented above ‘traditional’ standardised measurement tools were used to
describe the of job satisfaction. The Denki Rengo project was an attempt, which had the
ambition to describe job satisfaction not just in general but in its various dimensions as well.
The other surveys were less innovative; they operationalised the term only as a general
attitude towards work in general or working conditions in particular.
Ishikawa, A., Martin, R., Morawski, W., Rus, V. (Eds.) Workers, Firms and Unions, Part 2,
(The Development of Dual Commitment). New York – Franfurt am Main, Peter Lang
Publishing House, 2002.
Fahey, T., Maitre, B., Whelan, Ch., Anderson, R., Domanski, H., Ostrowska, A., Alber, J.,
Delhey, J., Keck, W., Nauenberg, R.,Quality of Life in Eurpe, (First results of a new pan-
European Survey). European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working
Conditions (www.eurofound.eu.it), Dublin, 2004.
Martin, R., Ihikawa, A., Makó, Cs., Consoli, F. (Eds.), Workers, Firms and Unions,
(Industrial Relations in Transition), New York – Franfurt am Main, Peter Lang Publishing
Paoli, P., Parent-Thirion, A., Persson, O., Working Conditions in Candidate Countries and the
European Union, European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working
Conditions (www.eurofound.eu.it), Dublin, 2003.
Katalin Balogh, Public Foundation for Research on Occupational Safety