Continuous training, job satisfaction and gender. An empirical analysis using German panel data

Publication Date14 Oct 2014
AuthorClaudia Burgard,Katja Görlitz
SubjectHR & organizational behaviour,Global HRM
Continuous training, job
satisfaction and gender
An empirical analysis using German
panel data
Claudia Burgard
StepStone GmbH, Du
¨sseldorf, Germany, and
Katja Go
School of Business and Economics, Freie Universita
¨t Berlin, Berlin,
Germany and Rheinisch-Westfa
¨lisches Institut fu
¨r Wirtschaftsforschung (RWI),
Essen, Germany
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to analyze the relationship between particip ation in further
training courses and job satisfaction, focussing in particular on gender differences.
Design/methodology/approach – Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), a
Probit-adapted OLS (POLS) model is employed which allows to account for individual fixed effects.
The analysis controls for a variety of socio-demographic, job and fir m characteristics.
Findings – The authors find a difference between males and females in the correlation between
training and job satisfaction which is positive for males but insignificant for females. This difference
becomes evenmore pronounced whenapplying individual fixedeffects. Togain insights into the reasons
for this difference, the authors further investigate training characteristics by gender. The authors find
that financial support andcareer-orientation of courses only seems to matterfor the job satisfaction of
men but not for the satisfaction of women.
Practical implications – In Germany, financial support and career-orientation of training courses
only seem to matter for the job satisfaction of men but not for the satisfaction of women. This has
important implications for the investment in and outcomes of these training endeavors from both, a
participant and an employer perspective.
Originality/value – This paper extends the existing literature in several ways. The authors use job
satisfaction as an outcome of training which comprises non-pecuniary returns in addition to monetary
returns. In addition, the authorspoint outgender differences and examinethe heterogeneity of training
courses by gender. This seems important since job satisfaction processes differ to a large extent by
gender and since it is well-known that training participation also differs by gender.
The panel structure of the data enables a methodological advancement in terms of accounting for
time-invariant unobserved heterogeneity which is likely to matter for the results.
Keywords Gender differences, Training, Job satisfaction, Fixed effects
Paper type Research paper
1. Introduction
As employees’ working lives are nowadays characterized by rapidly changing skill
requirements because of accelerating technological progress and as there is a rising
demand for skilled personnel, the role of worker training becomes increasingly
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
Received 29 November 2012
Revised 11 March 2013
Accepted 19 March 2013
Evidence-based HRM: a Global
Forum for Empirical Scholarship
Vol. 2 No. 2, 2014
pp. 126-144
rEmeraldGroup PublishingLimited
DOI 10.1108/EBHRM-11-2012-0016
The authors would like to thank Thomas Bauer and Marcus Tamm, as well as participants at the
Annual Conference of the CEA 2010, the 4th RGS Doctoral Conference in Economics and
seminars at the RGS and at the RWI for helpful comments and suggestions. Financial support by
the Ruhr Graduate School in Economics is gratefully acknowledged.
important. Training participationis crucial to workers in order to adapt continuously to
changing work requirements and to remain attractive in the labor market. Training
participation is a human capital investment that is determined by both, training costs
and monetaryor non-monetary returns. Toensure an increase in lifelonglearning, which
is a prevalent policy aim, knowledge about costsof and benefits elicited from training is
essential. While there is a broad literature on wage returns to trainin g[1], fewer studies
have investigated non-monetary returns.
This lack of research on non-monetary returns comes as a surprise as there is some
evidence suggesting that they are likely to play an important role for human capital
investment. For example, Oreopoulos and Salvanes (2011) show that non-p ecuniary
returns to schooling are at least as large as pecuniar yones. Non-monetary returns can,
amongst other things, include a consumptio n value, which captures several benefits
from learning. These can be personal gains or enrichments for learners, such as
self-fulfilment, personal development or broadening horizons. Theoretical foundations
of the existence of a consumption motive being involved in human capital investment
decisions are provided by, e.g. Schultz (1963) and Schaafsma (1976). Empirically, the
findings by Alstadsæter (2011) and Alstadsæter and Sievertsen (2009) suggest that
consumption benefits also play a role in higher educa tion decisions.
With regard to further training, non-monetary returns might be of great importance
since they could explain why employees attend training, even if there are small or no
wage returns as some studies suggest (e.g. Pischke, 2001; Ju
¨rges and Schneider, 2006;
Leuven and Oosterbeek, 2008; Go
¨rlitz, 2011). Even though employers are the main
sponsor of training in Europe (Bassanini et al., 2007) and, therefo re, reap much of the
benefits (Ballot et al., 2006; Dearden et al., 2006; Konings and Vanormelingen, 2009),
employees’ contribution to training costs by bearing monetary expenses or by
spending their free time is not negligible (see, e.g. Moraal, 2007). To be willing to bear
these costs, there has to be some reasoning for individuals in terms of expected
benefits. The small number of studies investigating non-monetary training returns
finds evidence for their existence. In particular, among the considered returns are
workers’ promotion prospects and job security (Pergamit and Veum, 1999; Bu
¨chel and
Pannenberg, 2004; Melero, 2010).
Investigating the relationship between continuous training and job satisfaction, this
paper extends the existing literature in several ways. We use job satisfaction, which is
regarded as a measure of the (net) utility from working, as an outcome of training
instead of focussing only on monetary returns or looking at a single proxy for one
single non-pecuniary return. Job satisfaction is seen as a comprehensive measure
covering monetary and non-monetary aspects[2]. In addition, gender differences are
investigated, which seems to be important since job satisfaction and training processes
differ to a large extent by gender (Clark, 1997; Bassanini et al., 2007; Jones et al., 2008).
Furthermore, it is explored to which extent training characte ristics differ between
males and females and whether this can account for differences in the relationship
between training and job satisfaction.
Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP)[3], job satisfaction is not
only analyzed as a function of a binary training indicator, but also as a function of more
detailed training dimensions (e.g. training duration or cos t sharing between employers
and employees). The estimation method used is the Probit-adapted OLS (POLS) model
suggested by van Praag and Ferrer-i-Carbonell (2008). This method allows us to take
time-invariant unobserved heterogeneity into account (suchas differences in personality
or ability) by applying individual fixed effects in a framework of ordered dependent
An empirical
analysis using
panel data

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