The relationship between pay and job satisfaction: A meta-analysis of the literature

Timothy A. Judge, Ronald F. Piccolo, Nathan P. Podsakoff, John C. Shaw, Bruce L. Rich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

370 Scopus citations


Whereas the motivational aspects of pay are well-documented, the notion that high pay leads to high levels of satisfaction is not without debate. The current study used meta-analysis to estimate the population correlation between pay level and measures of pay and job satisfaction. Cumulating across 115 correlations from 92 independent samples, results suggested that pay level was correlated .15 with job satisfaction and .23 with pay satisfaction. Various moderators of the relationship were investigated. Despite the popular theorizing, results suggest that pay level is only marginally related to satisfaction. Theoretical and practical implications of the results are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-167
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Vocational Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2010


  • Compensation
  • Earnings
  • Job satisfaction
  • Pay
  • Pay satisfaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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