A Social Media Study on Demographic Differences in Perceived Job Satisfaction

Koustuv Saha, Asra Yousuf, Louis Hickman, Pranshu Gupta, Louis Tay, Munmun De Choudhury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Effective ways to measure employee job satisfaction are fraught with problems of scale, misrepresentation, and timeliness. Current methodologies are limited in capturing subjective differences in expectations, needs, and values at work, and they do not lay emphasis on demographic differences, which may impact people's perceptions of job satisfaction. This study proposes an approach to assess job satisfaction by leveraging large-scale social media data. Starting with an initial Twitter dataset of 1.5M posts, we examine two facets of job satisfaction, pay and supervision. By adopting a theory-driven approach, we first build machine learning classifiers to assess perceived job satisfaction with an average AUC of 0.84. We then study demographic differences in perceived job satisfaction by geography, sex, and race in the U.S. For geography, we find that job satisfaction on Twitter exhibits insightful relationships with macroeconomic indicators such as financial wellbeing and unemployment rates. For sex and race, we find that females express greater pay satisfaction but lower supervision satisfaction than males, whereas Whites express the least pay and supervision satisfaction. Unpacking linguistic differences, we find contrasts in different groups' underlying priorities and concerns, e.g., under-represented groups saliently express about basic livelihood, whereas the majority groups saliently express about self-actualization. We discuss the role of frame of reference and the "job satisfaction paradox", conceptualized by organizational psychologists, in explaining our observed differences. We conclude with theoretical and sociotechnical implications of our work for understanding and improving worker wellbeing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number167
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Issue numberCSCW1
StatePublished - Apr 22 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • demographic differences
  • gender
  • geography
  • job satisfaction
  • macroeconomic constructs
  • race
  • sex
  • social media
  • twitter
  • workplace

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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