Job Satisfaction among Library and Information Science Professionals in India: A Case Study

  • Received : 2016.01.16
  • Accepted : 2016.12.11
  • Published : 2017.03.30


Purpose: This study aims to assess the level of job satisfaction among the practicing Library and Information Science (LIS) professionals in India. Some of the key variables studied include salary, work environment, professional position, working hours, location, employee participation in administrative matters, recognition, and advancement. Scope: The study is limited to LIS professionals in India; however, the results of the study show some degree of commonality among LIS professionals across the world. Methodology/Approach: The study has been purely undertaken by analyzing the primary data collected from practicing library and information professionals across India by circulating an online questionnaire, using Google services and by posting the link on various social groups and other social networking sites such as Groups, Facebook, LinkedIn, discussion forums, and e-mails. Findings: Responses were generated across 20 states and union territories of the country, representing 88.15% territory of India. Of the total responses generated, 72.88% are males and 27.12% females. From the data analysis it emerged that every third library professional in India enters in to LIS profession by chance and not by choice, as 35.59% respondents expressed that they landed in the LIS profession by chance and 60.45% by choice. More than 77% respondents have expressed their willingness to change their present employer, if given better opportunity. More than 80% professionals either fully or partly agree that most of the LIS professionals across India are dissatisfied with their employers. All these and many more areas have been explored, which reflect the aspects of job satisfaction and dissatisfaction among LIS professionals in India.




The concept of Human Resource Management and the level of job satisfaction among the employees of an organization or an institution is a subject of public interest and is widely studied in the contemporary times, especially in the corporate sector where always the emphasis is laid on the level of job satisfaction of its human resources, which they rate as its ultimate asset. The trend of assessing job satisfaction among human resource has moved beyond the corporate sector and these days we can see, the level of job satisfaction is being assessed among employees in each type of institution or organization. Given this fact, the present study investigates the level of job satisfaction among practicing library and information science professionals in India. 

The definition of ‘job satisfaction’ varies considerably from person to person, and each individual has his/her own perception of job satisfaction based on reasoning. Still more, there are some generalized definitions to help understand what job satisfaction is all about. Schneider and Snyder (1975) considered job satisfaction as an effective response employees make about their work and organization. Ejiogu (1980) described job satisfaction as the individual’s total social and psychological well-being, where factors like interpersonal relations, pay, fringe benefits, promotions, involvement in the decision making process, and proper communication are presupposed. Middlemist and Hilt (1981) observed that job satisfaction is more about having a good or bad feeling about one’s job and the work environment in which one works. Arnold and Feldman (1986) believe that job satisfaction is about having a positive effect of work done, the environment in which one is working, and being emotionally attached towards one’s job. Hoy and Miskel (1987) opined job satisfaction as the psychological, physiological, and environmental circumstances under which a person says ‘I am satisfied with my job.’ Hoy and Miskel further argue that job satisfaction is more about bringing all round fulfillment, job security, earnings, growth, and advancement with cordial interpersonal relationships, both at subordinate and super-ordinate levels.

The modern day library and information science discipline is more than 130 years old, but the subject cannot strike up to the prominence to which it otherwise should have. A good number of subject fields, despite being much younger than Library and Information Science, have struck to prominence within the shortest span of their coming into existence. It is equally observed that LIS professionals across the world in general and India in particular do not enjoy that good professional standing as do professionals from other sciences or their contemporaries from various other academic and professional fields. Given this fact, it becomes imperative to study the reasons which generally lead to job dissatisfaction among the library professionals of the world in general and India in particular. 

Most of the studies conducted in the field of assessing job satisfaction among employees generally focus on areas like job security, salary, promotion, institutional administration, professional position, working hours, and work environment. Focus has also been laid on areas like age, professional position, nature and type of organization, organizational stability, places they actually belong to, the places people work, and so on. 



The library and information science has not emerged as one of the forceful subject areas at the global level. The science has moved at a very gradual pace, with a limited job market, which is also not seen as rewarding and fulfilling when compared to other professions. Even the professionals who do join the LIS profession are generally those who exhaust their other options first. Given this fact, it was conceived to assess the level of job satisfaction among the practicing LIS professional across India. Although India has a better job market for LIS professionals, budding professionals in India still show reluctance in taking the LIS profession as their first career choice. 



Job satisfaction has been studied by different researchers differently. However, the common practice prevalent among researchers is to study those components which directly or indirectly influence job satisfaction. While studying the level of job satisfaction among Greek academic librarians, Toga, Koustelios, and Tsigilis (2004) assessed components like working conditions, pay, promotion, the job itself, supervision, and organization as a whole. The researchers observed that levels of job satisfaction among professionals varied from component to component, as the majority of professionals were found satisfied with the job itself, supervision, and working conditions, but were dissatisfied with the pay and promotions. Similarly Pandita (2016) reviewed different variables of job satisfaction in relation to LIS professionals. 

In the prevailing IT environment, being a technophobe or technophile can equally become a reason for job satisfaction or dissatisfaction. To assess the impact of automation on the job satisfaction of Moi University Library professionals of Kenya, Bii and Wanyama (2005) observed that library professionals were exceptionally happy about the automation of their library and more contented and satisfied with their work. There are some other components which in their own way affect the levels of job satisfaction among employees. Williamson, Pemberton, and Lounsbury (2005) studied career and job satisfaction in relation to personality traits of information professionals by collecting data from more than 1300 information professionals specialized in a variety of areas. The researchers observed a significant correlation between personality variables with the career and the job satisfaction. The researchers further observed that variables like optimism, emotional stability, teamwork, visionary work style, and drive to work make up to a 20% difference in job satisfaction. 

Levels of job satisfaction vary considerably from country to country and region to region, mostly depending upon the socioeconomic and other cultural environment of any given country or region. Khan and Ahmed (2013) studied the level of job satisfaction among the library professionals in the University of Khyber, Pakistan and observed that the library professionals of Pakistan, despite being committed to their profession, are only partly satisfied with their pay, promotions, and other benefits and totally dissatisfied with supervision, cognitive rewards offered, and the nature of work. Accordingly, Hyder and Batool (2013), while examining the job satisfaction among librarians of Pakistan, found that librarians working in the public 
sector are more contented with their job than their counterparts working in the private sector. The authors observed that by not having a clear and defined career advancement scheme in place, professionals tend to show more dissatisfaction with their job. 

Making independent observations about a concept or a subject at the gender level equally fascinates researchers and so holds true about assessing the level of job satisfaction at the gender level. Clark (1997) observed that compared to men, women have a greater degree of job satisfaction. Ward and Sloane (2000), while studying the Scottish workforce, observed that there is no considerable difference in the levels of job satisfaction or dissatisfaction at the gender level. The researchers further observed that dissatisfaction with the institutional administration is a very common problem linked with job dissatisfaction.

While assessing the job satisfaction among African library professionals, Hart (2010) observed a mix of satisfaction and dissatisfaction among African LIS professionals towards their job, which Hart described as a love-hate relationship. Hart further found that despite 61% of respondents showing satisfaction with their job, 50% showed willingness for change and only 51% felt proud of their job. The key areas of job dissatisfaction reflected by respondents include stagnation, remuneration and inadequate resources.

Nigeria is one of the leading LIS research countries in the African region (Pandita & Singh, 2015), and is one of the proactive countries which has raised issues concerning its LIS professionals. Oladokun (1993) undertook a survey to assess the level of job satisfaction among the library paraprofessionals of Nigerian Libraries. Oladokun highlighted various areas which generally breed dissatisfaction among the library paraprofessionals, along with aspects like reasons for landing in the LIS profession, be it by choice or chance, along with contentment with the professions in terms of rewards reaped or future prospects. Similarly, Adio and Popoola (2010), while assessing job satisfaction and professional commitment among the library professionals of Nigeria, collected primary data from 381 professionals from 24 universities and observed that only 20% of respondents showed satisfaction with their job. The researchers recommend that adequate provisions in the work environment should be made and incentives for loan and leave privileges, etc., should be extended to them.

Most of the studies conducted in India about job satisfaction among library professionals have been generally undertaken either at district level or at the state level, and no such major study has been conducted at the national level. Asadullah, Esmail, and Nagarajan (2012) studied job satisfaction among LIS professionals of Thiruvannamalai district of Tamil Nadu. Accordingly, Jange and Gavali (2014) studied the job satisfaction level among library professionals in Maharashtra, India. The researchers observed that experienced, permanent, and highly qualified library 
professionals are more satisfied with their job than freshers, temporary, and lesser qualified professionals. Somvir and Kaushik (2012) in their study in Haryana, India observed that it is the job characteristics which lead to job satisfaction and not gender, organization type or vocational needs.

Verma, Mahawar, and Narayan (2009) studied the levels of job satisfaction among the library professionals of the G. B. Pant University of Agriculture & Technology Library, Pantnagar. Application of ICT in library practices has helped a great deal in achieving higher levels of job satisfaction among LIS professionals, observe Bellary, Sadlapur, and Naik (2015) while studying LIS professionals of NMIMS Deemed University, Mumbai, and so was observed by Mondale, Bandyopadhyay, and Hasan (2014) while studying the LIS professionals of West Bengal. Parida (1998) studied the status of library professionals of Orissa and found that 80% of library professionals want to be treated under an academic cadre and should follow their own hierarchy and nomenclature of posts and positions.



This study’s objective is to determine the overall level of job satisfaction among the practicing Library and Information professionals in India and the factors which influence job satisfaction or dissatisfaction among LIS professionals. Some of the key areas studied include salary, work environment, professional position, working hours, location, employee participation in administrative matters, recognition, and advancement.



To undertake the present study, data were collected from practicing Library and Information professionals working across the length and breadth of India by a questionnaire method specially designed for the purpose. A pretest of the questionnaire was carried out by circulating it among nearly 20 respondents and after undertaking some necessary corrections was circulated among respondents. The data were collected purely by circulating the questionnaire online using Google 
services, and the link was hosted and cross-posted on various social networking sites like Groups, Facebook, LinkedIn, discussion forums, and e-mail. All the responses were received online and the analysis was carried out as per the objectives of the study. There was a need to structure data, especially to avoid duplication. In all 185 responses were generated, of which 8 responses were not found valid; as such analysis was carried out on 177 responses.



H1: Library and Information Science professionals working in the government sector have a greater degree of job satisfaction than their counterparts working in the public or private sector. 
H2: Salary is a perquisite, but not the sole factor responsible for job satisfaction. 
H3: With the increase in professional experience, job satisfaction increases. 


A total of 177 responses were generated during the period of investigation from practicing library professionals across India. Responses received were structured and then analyzed by using some basic mathematical expressions like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and drawing percentages. 


6.1. Basic and Background Information about the Respondents

It was imperative to collect basic individual information about the respondents, which one or the other way influences their level of job satisfaction. Values indicated included: age, gender, professional position, type of organization an employee is working with, organizational stability, the place an employee actually belongs to, the place where one is working, and so on.

Of the total responses generated, male LIS professionals constitute 72.88% and females 27.12%. The ma-jority of respondents, 49.71%, are in the age group of 26-35 years, of which males constitute 69.31% and females 30.69%. Th is also is the age group under which a maximum number of responses were generated, among 
both males and females. Th is is followed by 32.20% of respondents in the age group of 36-45 years, again the second highest response group among both male and female respondents. 8.47% response percentage was observed in the age group of 46-55 years and 7.90% above 55 years. The declining response percentage in the higher age groups can be owed to diff erent reasons, which includes lesser use of the Internet and other social networking sites by senior professionals along with lesser technological knowhow (See Table 1, Fig. 1). 


Table 1. Gender and Age Wise Response Distribution 


Fig. 1 Gender wise response percentage in the age groups


Nearly two-thirds of the respondents are placed at super-ordinate level and the remaining one-third are at a sub-ordinate position. Compared to 78.53% of respondents, who have shown dissatisfaction with their job, only 21.46% have refl ected satisfaction. Th is clearly indicates that status/social standing plays its part in drawing job satisfaction or dissatisfaction among the employees, whereby salary/remunerations by no means can be considered as the sole reason for drawing job satisfaction. From the fi gures it emerges that 49.15% of respondents are either university or college librarians, of which 75.86% are males or 24.14% females, which also means that these professionals have already reached the highest level of their professional career (See Table 2, Fig. 2). 


Table 2. Response Distribution on the Basis of Designation


Fig. 2 Gender wise representation of professional status of respondents 


Studying aspects like institutional affiliation of the respondents is important for the fact that the reputation and type or kind of institution an employee is working in is equally a step towards ensuring job satisfaction of an employee, as a range of interests of employees are protected by certain kinds of institutions, which vary considerably from institution to institution. Th e general approach of an employee while seeking job satisfaction looks for benefi ts like job security, good salary, welfare programs, insurance coverage, and many more privileges, which work in the direction of ensuring greater job satisfaction.

From the tabulated fi gures, it emerges that LIS professionals in India seek more job satisfaction in the government sector, as it ensures greater job security and greater length of service. Also, the reputation of an institution or for that matter, of the corporate house, plays its own part in seeking job satisfaction (See Table 3). 


Table 3. Response Distribution on the Basis of Institutional Affi liation (Type)


India is a very vast county, having over 1.2 billion population, spread across 36 states and union territories, having a total area of 3,287,240 sq. km. Responses were generated across 20 state and union territories of the country, constituting 2,897,848 sq. km, which represents 88.15% of the territory of the country. The response percentage of professionals working in metropolitan cities like Delhi and other developed cities and states like the Gujarat and the Karnataka has been quite encouraging, which can be owed to the presence of better IT infrastructure in these cities, along with access to the Internet. 

It is quite evident from the tabulated figures that compared to females, males tend to move outside their home state for a job. Since the majority of respondents, 67.23%, are working in their home state, of which 73.10% are males and 26.89% females and 22.03% respondents work outside their home state, constituting 82.05% male professionals and 17.94% female professionals, this is an indicator of the fact that dislocation for a job may be a reason for job dissatisfaction, but working at a native place may not necessarily lead to job satisfaction. LIS professionals from Bihar and Odisha are mostly working outside their home state. On the whole, LIS professionals across 25% of the country prefer to work in their home state and professionals from 75% of the territory are willing to work outside their home state and compared to male professionals from 92.30% of national territory, female professionals from 23.07% work outside their home state (See Table 4, Fig. 3). 


6.2 Professional Information and Satisfaction Level of Respondents

Respondents were asked to record their levels of agreement on some basic dichotomous questions about their profession and their level of job satisfaction. 

Landing in a particular profession can be by either choice or by chance. Given this fact, the respondents were asked how they came to be in the LIS profession, and to our surprise 35.59% of respondents replied that they landed in the LIS profession by chance, of which 73.01% were male respondents and 27.99% female respondents; while 60.45% respondents replied that they joined the LIS profession by choice, of which 73.83% respondents were male and 26.17% female. Compared to 35.65% of male respondents, 35.41% of female respondents landed in the LIS profession by chance, while against 61.24% of male respondents, 58.33% of female respondents replied of being LIS professionals by choice (See Table 5, Fig. 4). 

The social status of a professional is the indicator of his/her level of satisfaction with his/her job. Given this fact, 64.97% of respondents have replied that LIS professionals in India do not enjoy the social status on par with teaching professionals, while 31.63% of respondents replied that status as such is not a problem among LIS professionals. 41.80% of respondents replied that being despised by the other professionals is equally a reason for them being dissatisfied with their job, while 51.41% of respondents don’t see this as a reason for their dissatisfaction.

Salary is one of the greatest motivational forces. Of the total respondents, 36.15% of replied of being underpaid and the case is almost same for both male and female professionals, however, 59.88% of respondents reported being paid salaries as per the norms. While, 45.76% replied that they do not participate in the administrative and policy matters of their institution. The majority (50.28%) of respondents accepted such participations; while at the gender level, compared to 47.28% of male respondents, 41.66% of female respondents did not participate in the policy matters of their institution, while against 51.16% of male respondents, 47.91% of female respondents agreed to their participation in policy matters of their institution. 

Operational autonomy and authority are two different but interrelated components which by no means can be used interchangeably. 62.71% of respondents agreed about enjoying operational autonomy, while 27.11% denied enjoying any such autonomy. Accordingly, 53.67% of respondents replied that they enjoy complete authority in library affairs, while 38.98% say they do not. It is interesting to note that compared to 50.38% of males 62.50% of female respondents reported enjoying authority. 36.72% of respondents expressed concerns for not being consulted by the institutional administration for professional matters. Also, 50.84% of respondents replied that they face undue administrative interference in their library affairs.

Indian higher education system library professionals are rated on par with teaching professionals, but still 41.24% of respondents say they are not satisfied  


Table 4. State Wise Response Distribution


Fig. 3 State level representation of respondents


Table 5. Respondents were Asked about their Entry into LIS Profession


Fig. 4 Representation of professional choice by respondents 


with the parity maintained between the two groups. However, 44.63% of professionals are happy about the parity maintained between the two groups. Compared to 42.63% of male respondents, 37.50% of female respondents replied that disparity exists. 77.40% of respondents have shown their willingness to change their present employer, while 15.25% are not ready for the change. At the gender level, compared to 79.84% of male respondents, 70.83% of females expressed their willingness to change their present employer. However, compared to 14.72% of male respondents, 16.66% of female respondents are not ready to change. Th is also signifi es that compared to men, women refl ect slightly higher levels of job satisfaction (See Table 6).

While recording the level of job satisfaction, 40.11% of respondents replied that they are satisfi ed with their present employer, 41.24% are partly satisfied, 8.47% are totally dissatisfied, 3.38% respondents are partly dissatisfi ed, and 3.38% respondents are not sure, while 2.82% of respondents did not reply to this particular question. At the gender level, compared to 34.89% of male respondents, 39.58% of female respondents have shown their satisfaction with their present employer, while against 6.20% of male respondents, 14.58% female of respondents are dissatisfi ed (See Table 7). 

Respondents were given free choice to opt for as many options as they fi nd appropriate, and accordingly 39.54% of professionals have shown their satisfaction with salary, 43.50% of respondents are satisfied with their work environment, and 35.02% of professionals are satisfied with their working hours. Apart from these values, 28.81% of professionals believe in having interpersonal relationship at the work places, and 27.11% opined that work done by the employee should get recognized. 22.03% of respondents are satisfied with their advancement, while only 15.81% of respondents have shown satisfaction in all the aforementioned spheres, and 23.72% of respondents have not replied to this particular question (See Table 8). 

57.6% of respondents rated job security as an important component of job satisfaction, while a meager 7.9% of respondents categorically opined that job security is not important for job satisfaction. At the gender level, compared to 57.36% of male respondents, 58.33% of female respondents replied that job security is always important for job satisfaction, while against 9.30% of male respondents, 4.16% of female respondents opined that job security is not important for job 
satisfaction (See Table 9). Respondents were asked about their dissatisfaction level with their present employer, 44.06% agreed on 
being dissatisfied with their present employer, while 
36.72% partly agreed to it and 5.64% of respondents 
totally disagreed. At the gender level, compared to 
45.73% of male respondents, 39.58% of female respondents showed agreement with it, while compared to 
35.65% of male respondents, 39.58% of female respondents partly agreed with it (See Table 10)





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