Comparing Job Satisfaction between the Genders in Saudi Telecommunication Sector: Optimizing Employee Input

Review Article

Austin J Bus Adm Manage. 2019; 3(1): 1035.

Comparing Job Satisfaction between the Genders in Saudi Telecommunication Sector: Optimizing Employee Input

Ibrahim Al Taweel*

Business Administration, Qassim University, Saudi Arabia

*Corresponding author: Dr. Ibrahim Al Taweel, Business Administration, Qassim University, Saudi Arabia

Received: August 06, 2019;Accepted: September 05, 2019 Published: September 12, 2019


Growth and development of infrastructural sectors is one of the keynotes of Vision 2030, which envisages a country well on the road to internationalization by the end of the next decade. Development of the telecom sector, which saw a slump in early 2018 and later picked up with growth in the number of mobile and high-speed internet users, is also one of the objectives. The reason is the large number of jobs this sector is likely to generate. In a highly segregated society like that of Saudi Arabia, it is imperative to evaluate social, educational and occupational setups to ensure parity of opportunities for the genders. This study is also directed at such an objective, identifying trends in job satisfaction among female and male Saudi employees in the telecommunications and information technology sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The study selected seven variables, validated previously to assess the perception of males and females employed in the sector and designed a questionnaire for the purpose. The sample comprised two hundred and thirty participants. Post statistical analysis, the results indicated that there were statistically significant differences between the average job satisfaction among male and female employees in this sector. Overall, the average job satisfaction among females was higher than that of males. Females also showed an increase in the average satisfaction concerning financial factors and relationships within the work environment as well as career prospects. By contrast, job satisfaction among males was higher with respect to work elements relates to existing job systems and educational field. The study offers suitable recommendations to ensure greater job satisfaction and thereby promote optimum utilization of the human resource involved in the sector.

Keywords: Telecommunication Sector; Job satisfaction; Gendered perception; Workplace


For any organization to deliver its best to the consumers of its goods or services, a fulfilling relationship between the management and employees is of utmost importance. Attrition rate, employee loyalty, long-term commitment, and rising turnover are all hinged on workplace environment, which in turn, is directly dependent on job satisfaction. It implies a symbiotic, productive and prolific relationship between workplace and workers. Happy and satisfied employees have high morale and are eager to do their best for the organization even if some perks like days-off are less. They are an asset to the management and do not seek new incentives to accomplish their responsibilities. They are high on self-drive and foster an atmosphere of collaborative development amongst their colleagues. On the contrary, dissatisfied employees will adversely affect their own efficiency and effectiveness.

Most organizations desire to achieve the goal of ensuring job satisfaction for their employees but not all succeed. Ignorance of the factors causing dissatisfaction and their remedies are to blame. It is not only good pay packages and perks that can ensure employee trust and satisfaction with their workplace. It takes more than that. Some of these are respect, fair and healthy work environment, appreciation of outstanding work, an upward career graph, organization’s trust, and monetary benefits. Early signs of poor job satisfaction include absenteeism, lower work turnover, poor productivity and even decreased customer satisfaction. Though there have been previous studies on extrinsic factors that adversely affect job satisfaction, one intrinsic factor that is rarely studied is the attitude and perception of the workers: After all it is these that predispose humans to behave as they do. even goes to the extent of claiming that “employee attitude and job satisfaction are two sides of the same coin”. Workers’ temperament is a decisive factor in determining and ensuring the fulfilment of organizational objectives.

Responsibility and accountability among employees automatically boost team productivity and lead to lower attrition rate and workrelated dissatisfaction. This is so as a productive team leads to higher turnover which, in turn, ensures that employees do not look for job change. has also reported a strong correlation between job satisfaction and turnover intention, particularly how they affect workplace culture. As the world is fast moving away from being production oriented to service oriented, human resource has come to play the role of capital. Apart from ensuring great turnovers, satisfied employees are also brand ambassadors of the organization, keeping together even those employees who may have a grudge. Though organizations invest time and resources in short term engagement programmers for their employees, they are only temporary shots in the arm: Within a short while satisfaction levels are reported to slip. Hence the need to bring about more enduring job satisfaction levels among the workers so that employee needs and organization goals are met. Thus, workers’ satisfaction calls for treatment in both short and long term. In the short term, it directly translates to job switches. This is less harmful. In the long term, dissatisfied workers begin looking for newer reasons to justify their initial dissatisfaction with the workplace. They nurse impressions that are likely to damage the image of the organization both internally and externally. Dissatisfaction corrodes workers’ trust in the organization and jeopardizes their loyalty. Finally, if workers are human capital whose knowledge, abilities, skills and talents are vital to keep the organization afloat.

The Telecommunications and Information Technology Commission in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

The Saudi Telecommunications and Information Commission (“SIC”) was founded pursuant to the Council of Ministers Resolution of 1991(STC, 2018).

The telecommunications sector in Saudi Arabia derives its pivotal role from the Telecommunications Sector Law and its Implementing Regulations. The objectives of the telecommunications sector in this context are to ensure the provision of telecommunications services throughout the Kingdom, improve services in terms of quality and diversity, and ensure the quality of services in accordance with the conditions of the operating license [1]. Developing the sector through training and development, establishing training institutions related to the sector, in addition to finding solutions to disputes that may arise between licensed operators, and establishing and implementing a framework for the telecommunications sector [2]. Additionally, the Saudi Telecommunications Sector seeks to promote, enable, establish and build the digital infrastructure in the Kingdom through the public Internet network. It is also responsible for the representation of the Kingdom in many international platforms. The sector also seeks to exercise the powers prescribed for it in accordance with the provisions of the law in order to achieve the following:

1. Attaining self-sufficiency.

2. Providing telecommunications services throughout the Kingdom to meet the needs of all those wishing to benefit from these services.

3. Continuing to develop and modernize the telecommunications system in the Kingdom through continuous training and educational rehabilitation and establishment of specialized educational institutions.

4. Establishing an attractive e-government environment in the Kingdom.

5. Working to help government agencies develop smart systems.

Previous Studies

Steel et al. [3] conducted a large meta-analysis to find combinations of workers’ personality and satisfaction in life. This is based on an assumption that employees’ personalities play a significant role in their perceptions. Further, education and workplace play a role in in enhancing these perceptions but overlooking personality traits can lead to loss of information [4]. Studied the relationship between job satisfaction and time focusing on age and tenure as the two primary time metrics. The study spanned a 40-year period using two nationally representative samples. The findings indicate that within an organization, longer duration of stay of employees resulted in less satisfaction but as they aged and moved on in their careers, people tended to be more satisfied with their jobs. Incentives, especially salary, affected the level of employees’ job satisfaction. The role of emotions in ensuring job satisfaction has been the subject of a study by [5]. The results showed the significant role of emotional intelligence on the detrimental effects of surface acting adopted by coaches in high schools in the US. On the other hand, genuine expression is positively correlated with better emotional intelligence and hence greater job satisfaction [6]. Demonstrated the empirical effects of collaboration practices and the sharing of organizational knowledge on employee satisfaction and interpersonal adjustment in the workplace. The study confirmed that organizational support for the exchange of knowledge and expertise promotes interpersonal harmony and results in increased levels of job satisfaction among employees. Learning in the workplace increases job satisfaction among employees [7]. Scholars have found that innovative and social achievements of employees can be only realized through the attainment of job satisfaction. Meanwhile, the cultures of employees were explained in terms of the levels of job satisfaction, work seniority and personal status [8]. Job satisfaction as a concept of organizational psychology has been both widely studied and criticized at the same time. The study of this concept involves a great deal of ambiguity, because it is premised on a wide range of psychological and emotional factors that are subject to many influences present in the external environment and working conditions. This greatly affects the personal behavior of employees [9]. Additionally, many variables play an important role in the process of job satisfaction, such as the working environment, job qualifications, salary, direct relationship with colleagues and superiors, the availability of appropriate and continuous training in the work environment, and the leave and bonuses system in place. All of these factors result in positive or negative job satisfaction attitudes [10].

As such, job satisfaction is considered to be a fundamental factor in an institution’s quest for success and excellence over other institutions. Moreover, the attainment of attaining high levels of job satisfaction itself consists of an integrated set of processes that lead to an increase in an employee’s ability to exert greater individual effort to realize the objectives of the institution he/she is affiliated with. This in turn helps the institution achieve its strategic objectives, while enabling it to retain the expertise and human resources available to it, thereby improving its products and enhancing its ability to address problems and to beat the competition [11]. Job satisfaction consists of a comprehensive range of positive emotions felt by an employee towards both him/herself and other colleagues as well as superiors at work, in addition to his/her job and the institution to which he/she belongs. All these factors influence an employee in as far as he/she enjoys his/her job, strength of his/her affiliation with the institution in which he/she works through his/her own perceived role as a main pillar of the corporate entity. They also have an impact on an employee’s adaptation to his/her superiors at work, in addition to his/her own job stability and ability to satisfy his/her social needs, and attainment of job security and stability in the work environment [12]. In a study of job satisfaction among public health workers [13]. Concluded that to improve job satisfaction among the new recruits and subordinate staff, public health leaders need to focus on the development and training of the workforce. Callaghan and Coldwell [15] concluded from a study of academics that job satisfaction is the highest among those academics who produce the greater number of internationally accredited journals as compared to the others. They claim that job satisfaction is essential not only for retention but also, for the performance of the academic staff.

It should be noted there are a number of approaches to analyzing job satisfaction behavior. The first approach confirms that job satisfaction among employees in the institution inevitably leads to increased productivity and enhances the ability of the institution to compete. The second approach contends that employee satisfaction is linked to the employee receiving fair remuneration, an appropriate employment grade and favorable working conditions [16]. Job satisfaction has been an important subject that preoccupied scholars and academics in the field of psychology and management. This attention stems from the fact that most people spend a large part of their lives working and therefore; it is important for them to look for job satisfaction and to understand its role in their personal and professional lives. Furthermore, increased job satisfaction can lead to increased productivity, which in turn benefits the company and its employees [17,18] also argued that there is a significant relationship between the physical conditions, such as location, lighting, ventilation, furniture and job satisfaction among employees in the workplace. In an early study [18], stated that there is a significant relationship between the understanding of the content of the job by the employee and the level of employee satisfaction. He also asserted that there is a significant relationship between the leadership style and the level of employee satisfaction, as well as a related relationship between morale and the nature of the financial incentives system in place and the levels of job satisfaction among employees.

The study of job satisfaction contributes to the knowledge of methods that reinforce positive human emotions and is one of the most important factors for the development of human resources especially that work requires employee satisfaction and promotes loyalty, and responsibility among employees. Ultimately, job satisfaction enhances creativity and innovation. In the light of the foregoing, it can be argued that there is a positive correlation between incentives and job satisfaction at a theoretical level. Incentives help create a psychological feeling of satisfaction with work and the work environment. They also promote confidence and loyalty to the organization and enhance the ability of employees to adapt to factors related to the internal and external environment affecting the organization, leading to a sense of satisfaction [19].

Objectives of the Study

While the broad objective of the study is to measure job satisfaction levels among Saudi employees of the ICT sector, the specific parameters targeted for the analysis were as follows:

1. Identifying the effect of the gender variable (male and female) on the level of job satisfaction.

2. Measuring the impact of education level on job performance and attainment of a certain level of job satisfaction.

3. Identifying the views of employees regarding the work environment and the impact of these views on attaining job satisfaction.

4. Identifying the extent of satisfaction with the salary system and financial incentives among Saudi employees.

5. Identifying the extent to which the working hours and leave system are deemed appropriate and the impact these factors have on job satisfaction.

6. Identifying the views of employees regarding training and workshops offered and the extent to which training and workshops are needed in order to improve job satisfaction among Saudi employees.

7. Identifying the views of employees regarding career prospects and the extent to which these views impact overall levels of job satisfaction.

Significance of the Study

The study is significant as an insight into the sociological phenomena that underlie recent societal and policy changes in the country. Till just a couple of years ago, the workplace was an exclusively male domain with female participation in economic activity being seen as counter to general ethos. However, with the stated commitment of the administration to ensure more inclusive development for females, a change in the workplace is perceptible. Given the new equation, it is pertinent to evaluate periodically how far organisations are succeeding in making available to the women a conducive work environment that can bring about their optimum input. In this light, the current study holds significance for the administration as well as for ocuupational settings.

Research Questions

In the course of conducting interviews with employees during training sessions held by the Saudi Telecommunications Company (STC), the researcher noticed that participating trainees from the (STC) harbor negative feelings towards the company. He also came to learn that some employees believe that the company does not play the desired positive role and does not provide adequate incentives. At the same time, the company is engaged in management efforts to improve the level of employees through job training and development programs through the use of trainers. Females were excluded from that training sessions. This prompted the researcher to examine the levels of satisfaction among employees in the Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector to determine the underlying reasons for these negative sentiments among the employees and to seek solutions to address them.

Accordingly, the study sought to answer the following main question:

What is the degree of job satisfaction among the employees of the ICT sector in Saudi Arabia? The research question encompasses two important aspects:

1. What effect does an employee’s personal background have on the level of job satisfaction? This includes the following factors: (gender, education and job grade).

2. What is the effect of objective variables on job satisfaction? This includes the following factors: (the work environment, salary system, incentives, allowances, bonuses and leave system, working hours, training and job security and its connection to job satisfaction).

Study Hypotheses

To answer the previous questions, the following hypotheses must be examined. The researcher posited that a statistically significant relationship existed between each variable of the study. These hypotheses are as follows:

H0: There are no statistically significant differences between the levels of job satisfaction and gender.

H0: There are no statistically significant differences between levels of job satisfaction and the levels of education between male and female employees.

H0: There are no statistically significant differences in the effect of the work environment and level of satisfaction among male and female employees.

H0: There are no statistically significant differences in the effect of the system of salaries, incentives, allowances and bonuses on the level of satisfaction among male and female employees.

H0: There are no statistically significant differences in the effect of the leave system and working hours on the degree of job satisfaction among male and female employees.

H0: There are no statistically significant differences between degree of job satisfaction among male and female employees and training offered.

H0: There are no statistically significant differences between the level of job satisfaction and career prospects among male and female employees.

Methodology and Measuring Tool

Telecom is one of the first sectors in the country to offer work opportunities to women. Envisaged as part of the National Transformation Plan 2020, the industry has been striving to achieve the goal of 25% economic participation for women. Where in 2016, there were less than ten women employed in one of the telecom giant’s operations in Riyadh, today there are more than 200. Saudi Arabia ranks second in the G20 group of nations in terms of the radio spectrum made available to the telecom sector. In all there are five major stakeholders in the sector which stands at a whopping $48 billion catering to a massive user base of about 43 million subscribers. According to conservative estimates, the country has more than 19 million YouTube users, close to 17 million Facebook users, and more than 15 million WhatsApp users. This speaks for the large investment and human resource parked in this sector. With a sector that has exclusively employed male workforce till recently, it is imperative to assess the perceptions of the genders to ensure parity of opportunity.

Validation of the research tool

Once a preliminary questionnaire design was in shape with twenty five questions targeted to elicit response on perception of job satisfaction along seven variables, validity of the tool was tested by administering it to a group of participants from within and outside the telecommunications sector in Saudi Arabia. This included academics and employees in different parts of the telecommunications sector. The intended objective was to solicit their opinion about the integrity of the measuring tool and the consistency of the terms and phrases used and their compatibility with the research objectives. The researcher also solicited feedback and comments from this initial sample of participants concerning the need to modify language where needed to convey the desired meaning. Additionally, the researcher calculated the Pearson correlation coefficient to measure the validity of the tool on the same group at two different points in time. The accuracy of the Pearson coefficient was found to be 85%, indicating that the measurement tool (questionnaire) used in this study reflected a high level of validity.

Consistency of the questionnaire

In order to ensure the highest levels of consistency for the instrument used, the Alpha Cronbach test factor was used. This was conducted on a group of 40 male and female employees in the telecommunications sector. They were selected before the questionnaire was distributed to the selected sample. The result of 83% indicated the reliability of the tool to measure this study.


Accordingly, the questionnaire was administered to the participants working in the sector to gain insight into their perceptions on job satisfaction. This was understood as being a sample representative of the entire telecom sector in the country. The sample of the study consisted of a random group of employees from various arms of the telecommunications sector. The respondents were randomly sent the questionnaire and requested to revert within three days. Ethical issues were well taken care of and secrecy of information shared was assured. A total of 250 questionnaires were emailed to male and female employees from different parts of the telecommunications sector. The number of completed and valid questionnaires reverted was 230 of which 77 were from female respondents and 153 were from male respondents.

The Questionnaire

Personal information of the participants was obtained along four parameters, viz., gender, age, years of service and salary bracket. Job satisfaction parameters were sought to be elicited using the following parameters: Satisfaction with income aspects; satisfaction with working hours and leaves; satisfaction with the extent to which the job is perceived as being suitable to educational field, qualifications and learning in the workplace; satisfaction with the work environment; satisfaction with the career advancement system; satisfaction with job security. Each question had to be rated by the participants on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 represented ‘null’ and 10 represented ‘absolute’. Based upon the responses, averages were calculated which were later used to find the standard deviation to gain insight into the degree of variance in response.

Statistical Software

SPSS was used to perform statistical analysis as follows:

1. Statistical calculation of the mean of job satisfaction variables.

2. Using T test to determine the significance of the differences between the levels of job satisfaction in the telecommunication sector between each group variables.

Analysis and Discussion of the Results of the Study

Demographic Characteristics of the Study Sample

Using statistical analysis, the following results were obtained about the characteristics of the study sample:

It is evident from the graphical representation figure 1 that the age group of under 40 years of age (88.9%) is the predominant category among employees. This age group is the productive group in the labor market. Also, the number of male employees exceeds that female employees, consisting of 66.4% of the study sample. While the representation demonstrates that the number of years of service among the employees ranges between five years and less than ten years (64.3%), most of the sample population are university degree holders (57.3%). The average salary of the sample participants ranges between SR 3000 and less than 7,000 (70.4%). This shows that the majority of the sample population are recent hires, as indicated by their relatively young age and high academic qualifications. It also shows that the telecommunications sector should make more effort to invest in its employees through the development of their professional and educational skills (Table 1, Figure 1).