Young workers' job satisfaction in Europe

Okay-Somerville, Belgin and Scholarios, Dora and Sosu, Edward; Furåker, Bengt and Håkansson, Kristina, eds. (2019) Young workers' job satisfaction in Europe. In: Work Orientations. Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon, pp. 193-218. ISBN 9780815383291 (

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This chapter examines the role of skill use and development opportunities in shaping meaningful work and job satisfaction for young people. Given the pervasive issue of underemployment of young people across Europe, skills play a vital role in young people’s work attitudes and represent a key aspect of job quality and career success. In addition, by taking into account the socioeconomic context of recession and national country characteristics represented by the employment regime, the chapter extends understanding of some of the boundary conditions influencing young workers' attitudes. Building on theoretical perspectives of work attitudes and well-being and using the European Working Conditions Surveys (2005–2015), this chapter provides a contextualized examination of job satisfaction as predicted by skill utilisation, skill development and career development opportunities. Findings from multigroup path analyses highlight the role of career development opportunities and work meaningfulness for youth job satisfaction across Europe, even after the recession (although to a lesser extent in comparison to pre-recession times) and for those in Liberal in comparison to Social Democratic employment regimes. Moreover, the confirmed role of meaningfulness as an explanatory mechanism demonstrates the continued applicability of Hackman and Oldham’s job characteristics model across European workers and supports the link between work which is experienced as meaningful and well-being more generally.