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Nigerian airlines employees & job satisfaction: Between remuneration and job enjoyment

AIRLINES, a major player in the aviation industry, are one of the most complex organizations to manage because of the capital-intensive nature, the slim profit margin, safety, technicality,professionalism, and the risk associated with the business.

Therefore attainment of a high-level performance through improving productivity and efficiency has always been an organizational goal of high priority to any airline that wants to remain in business. To do that, building a highly satisfied workforce is inevitable for achieving a high level of performance.Thus every organization tries to create a strong and satisfied workforce to manage its operations.
According to Mullins, 1999, Job satisfaction is a complex and multifaceted concept, which can mean different things to different people. It is more of an attitude. It could be associated with a personal feeling of achievement, either quantitative or qualitative.

Even though achieving absolute job satisfaction is practically impossible, every effort towards increasing job satisfaction in the airline industry significantly affects employee job satisfaction and performance positively.

Sweeny and Mcfarln (2002) defined job satisfaction as the result of a psychological comparison process of the extent to which various aspects of their job, measure up to what they desire.

Thus, when the gap between what employees get and what they want from their employers increase, their job satisfaction reduces; generally, employees tend to be most satisfied with their jobs when what they get matches what they want.

In this article, we will first discuss a few selected factors that affect job satisfaction in the Nigerian airline industry based on the different perceptions that people have when it comes to job satisfaction and performance in the workplace, then make recommendations that are relevant to the airline industry in Nigeria.

It’s a costly assumption to believe that the factors affecting airline employee’s job satisfaction in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East will have the same effect on the airline industry in Nigeria due to inherent variations in cultural and economic factors.

To achieve the above, a survey form was issued electronically between February to July 2021, to airlines employees (Pilots, Flight Dispatchers, Cabin Crews, Aircraft Maintenance Engineers, ticketing staff) using their respective WhatsApp groups and personal emails, and selected industry stakeholders were also personally interviewed. 315 forms were filled and returned.

Factors that Affect Job Satisfaction in Nigerian Airline Industry

Salary:

The Nigerian traditional values system as highlighted by Ella (1993) includes respect for elders, chastity among womenfolk, the dignity of labor, patriotism to one’s community, courage, and self-reliance. These values kept depreciating from integrity, accountability, diligence, perseverance, and, discipline to how much you earn (salary) and how much you can spend.

The current Nigerian society’s value system must be significantly affected by money therefore a very significant motivating factor for improving job satisfaction and performance. The bar chart below (Figure 1.0) reveals that 42.86% disagree and 38.1% of airline employees strongly disagree that they are receiving the right amount of salary from their employers.

Because salary is a major motivating factor for job satisfaction and performance in Nigerian society, employers and investors should pay close attention to airline employees; salaries if they want their operations to be safe, efficient, and profitable.

Skill-set Utilization

A skill-set is the knowledge, abilities, and experience needed to perform a job. According to George N. Root, the comprehension of work duties is tied directly to the employee’s skill set. If the employee has the proper skills in place, he can perform according to expectations.

Generally, employee performance drops when there is a gap between what the employee needs to know and his existing skill-set. Figure 2.0 below reveals that 61.91% of airline employees agree that their employers make the best use of their skill-set however, in figure 1.0 above, 80% disagree that they are being paid the right amount of salary commensurate to their skill-set.

These suggest that the employees are not satisfied even though their skills are adequately utilized.

Value at Workplace

Every workplace has the skill-set, behaviors, and values required to be successful: such as a strong work ethic, dependability, responsibility, possessing a positive attitude, adaptability, honesty, integrity, self-motivated, motivated to grow and learn, strong self-confidence, professionalism, and loyalty. Figure 3.0. This reveals that 71.43% of employees agree that they are valued at their place of work.

However, the value an organization attach to an employee is different from the employee’s view of his values because his major motivating factor is different from his employer’s criteria for valuation which is in how much he has contributed to the organization.

Therefore it’s possible to have airline employees that are highly valued by their employers yet are feeling undervalued as illustrated in figure 1.0.

Nigeria is highly vulnerable to the global economic disruption caused by COVID-19, particularly due to the pronounced decline in oil prices, high inflation, and spikes in risk aversion in global capital markets.

The economic situation in Nigeria has affected all sectors of the economy however the aviation industry is always a worse hit because of its over-dependence on forex to fund its operational cost.

This economic disruption affected airline employee’s satisfaction with their salary as revealed in figure 4.0 below. 80.95% of employees agree that the economic situation has significantly affected their satisfaction with the current salary negatively.

Findings and Recommendations:

The job satisfaction level refers to an employee’s overall positive attitude and feelings towards a job. The assumption that the level of job satisfaction is more dependent on the level of “job enjoyment” than salary and promotion is not applicable in the Nigerian airline industry as revealed in the infographic analysis.

In figure 5.0 where only 33% agree that they are satisfied with their job although, in figures 2.0, 2.1; 3.0, 61.91% of airline employees agree that their employers make the best use of their skill-set, 61.9% agree that they are satisfied with how often they are involved in problem-solving and 71.42% agreed that they are valued as hardworking individuals yet the job satisfaction is less than 35% because the 80.96% of the employees are not satisfied with their salary.

This suggests that salary satisfaction is the most significant component of Job satisfaction affecting airline employees in Nigeria.

Also, the value an organization attach to an employee is different from employee feelings of being valued because while money is his major motivating factor, his employer’s criteria for valuation is in how much he has contributed to the organization. Therefore it’s possible to have airline employees that are highly valued by their employers yet are feeling undervalued.

Finally, the job satisfaction of employees is directly related to their performance which implies the higher the job satisfaction level in your airline, the higher the performance of the airline in terms of safety, efficiency, and profitability.

In view of the current economic situation and value system of the Nigerian society that is  significantly influenced by money. I, therefore, recommend that:

·       Airline owners and investors should pay close attention to employee’s salaries in order to improve employee retention rates because of their significant impact on their job satisfaction.

·        Airline owners and investors should adopt a salary scale that will reflect the values employee creates in their organization; this will reduce the rate at which airline employee’s jump from one airline to the other instead of concentrating on improving safety, efficiency, and profitability.

Monetary rewards are highly recommended as incentives to encourage employees to contribute more value to the organization.

Shadrach Swante Kambaiis a Flight Dispatcher/ Aviation Business Developer/ Data Analyst
([email protected])

About NigerianFlightDeck

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Nigerianflightdeck is an online news and magazine platform reporting business stories with a bias for aviation and travel. It is borne out of the intention to inform, educate as well as alter perceptions with balanced reportage.

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