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Journal cover: Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology

Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology

ISSN: 1726-0531

Online from: 2003

Subject Area: Built Environment

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The effect of age on the job satisfaction of construction workers

Document Information:
Title:The effect of age on the job satisfaction of construction workers
Author(s):Nicholas Chileshe, (Division of Information Technology, Engineering and the Environment, School of Natural and Built Environments, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia), Theodore C. Haupt, (Faculty of Engineering, Southern African Built Environment Research Centre, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa)
Citation:Nicholas Chileshe, Theodore C. Haupt, (2010) "The effect of age on the job satisfaction of construction workers", Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology, Vol. 8 Iss: 1, pp.107 - 118
Keywords:Age groups, Construction industry, Job satisfaction, South Africa
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/17260531011034682 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the perceived age differences in job satisfaction of construction workers in South Africa, and how these differences affect job overall satisfaction of young and old workers on construction sites in South Africa.

Design/methodology/approach – The empirical study involved construction workers at operational levels comprising younger (age<40 years) and older (age>40 years) in the Western Cape province. A total of 300 questionnaires were sent to potential respondents chosen from construction workers within the Western Cape province. A total of 65 useable questionnaires were returned giving a response rate of 22 per cent.

Findings – Results of this paper indicate that job satisfaction differential does not exist between younger and older construction workers in South Africa. Overall the findings suggest that although both younger and older workers rank the relationship with workmates as being poor, age does not have an influence on the effects of the aspects of work, however, the differences are significant for one of the job satisfaction effects with younger workers reporting higher scores on “indifference”, whereas the younger workers rank poor recognition of abilities as the most effect in comparison to the older workers who reported suffering from a “lack of alertness” as the most ranked effect.

Research limitations/implications – The relatively small sample means that the findings presented are not generalisable to the wider population of workers in the South African construction industry.

Practical implications – The paper offers practical suggestions to the construction industry and management in general on how to minimise the negative job effects arising from lack of job satisfaction. Contributes to the theory building efforts in the discipline of organisation behaviour.

Originality/value – The paper examines job satisfaction related issues in a developing economy and under-researched area. The Herzberg's two factor theory of motivation which has hitherto been based on white-collar and its applicability to blue-collar workers such as construction bricklayers, general workers and site based personnel remains to be tested, more so with the African context.

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