The declining job satisfaction of white-collar women in sex-segregated and mixed-sex occupations

Jeanne Parr Lemkau, Kathleen J. Pottick

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5 Scopus citations


The declining job satisfaction of women white-collar workers reported by J. Veroff, E. Douvan, and R. A. Kulka (1981, The Inner American: A self-portrait from 1957 to 1976, New York, Basic Books) is explored through secondary analyses of their data from two national cross-sectional surveys conducted in 1957 and 1976. Analyses were done using data from 258 women in 1957 and 372 women in 1976 in white-collar jobs. Multivariate contingency table analyses were used first to explore the separate effects of type of white-collar employment, whether or not the job was sex segregated, age, birth cohort, and education on job satisfaction declines. The decline in job satisfaction was found to be greater for women in sex-segregated occupations that in mixed-sex ones. In addition, while all white-collar women express increased dissatisfaction with ego-involving aspects of work, those in sex-segregated fields showed the greatest increases in job dissatisfactions in affiliative and achievement spheres. Neither type of white-collar employment nor birth cohort related to differential job satisfaction declines though age and education changes did. The final multivariate analysis demonstrated that the changing age and educational characteristics of job holders in sex-segregated fields accounted for the greater job satisfaction declines for these women, and that sex segregation did not appear to affect job satisfaction beyond changes related to these demographic factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)344-358
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Vocational Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1984

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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