The effects of college major and job field congruence on job satisfaction

Gregory C. Wolniak, Ernest T. Pascarella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study investigated predictors of job satisfaction and builds on previous research on the effects of bachelor's degree majors and job field congruence on job satisfaction. Data on workers' job experiences in 2001 were matched to those workers' college experiences across 30 institutions and background characteristics up to 25 years earlier. With statistical controls for demographic, socioeconomic, and academic characteristics, a final sample of 2515 college graduates was used to test hypotheses centered on the possibility that a causal order relates education and job satisfaction. Specifically, college degree majors, measures of both actual and perceived congruence, as well as income were examined in relation to three dimensions of job satisfaction. Results support hypotheses that income and congruence both mediate the effects of majors on job satisfaction, and identify that two different measures of congruence are causally related to intrinsic dimensions of job satisfaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-251
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Vocational Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2005


  • Career outcomes of college
  • College majors
  • Congruence
  • Job satisfaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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