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Training, job mobility and employee satisfaction

In-work training is generally regarded as beneficial for employees and in Britain it continues to offer significant gains in earnings. However, little previous research has tested whether training also leads to higher levels of job satisfaction or ‘happiness’. Employers need to retain trained employees in order to make training cost-effective, but this may clash with employees’ career aims if they view external job mobility as a better strategy, for instance because of reduced internal promotion opportunities. Using panel survey data for the 1990s and the 2000s, and considering four different aspects of job satisfaction, this research finds that job mobility, usually regarded as inimical to in-firm training provision, is associated consistently with gains in job satisfaction, while receipt of training has effects on satisfaction that are mostly close to zero. Further, job satisfaction is high in circumstances where financial returns to training are low, and vice versa. Finally, we find that training inhibits mobility, probably a good outcome for employers but not necessarily for employees.