Dr Rob Yeung is a chartered psychologist and coach at consulting firm Talentspace

Surveys unsurprisingly show that many job hunters want a significant pay rise from their next job. However, psychological science fails to show a clear relationship between salary and job satisfaction.

Studies consistently demonstrate that autonomy matters more than pay packet. Data collected from tens of thousands of UK households by the University of Birmingham’s Daniel Wheatley showed that people with greater autonomy – specifically over the tasks they did and how they were able to complete those tasks – reported higher job satisfaction. Interestingly, greater autonomy has also been linked to higher job performance in other studies.

Non-monetary factors could have a larger impact on whether your next job will be enjoyable or miserable

A more recent investigation led by Jia-Lin Zhao at Shanghai Normal University similarly found a significant relationship between job autonomy and job satisfaction in a large-scale survey of Chinese knowledge workers. Zhao’s research group additionally found that a greater match between employees’ personal values and those of their employers boosted job satisfaction.

So think carefully before accepting your next job. Of course, you may want a bigger salary and bonus. But understand that other factors could have a larger impact on whether your next job will be an enjoyable experience or a miserable one. Seek greater autonomy and check the degree to which your personal values align with those of the organisation.

More information

Visit ACCA’s wellbeing hub for advice and support on mental health and wellbeing at work.

Dr Rob Yeung will be talking about the psychology of influence and persuasion for positive impact at ACCA’s annual virtual conference, Accounting for the Future. Register to attend and learn about trends affecting the profession, while earning up to more than 15 CPD units.