• job satisfaction;
  • wages;
  • low wages;
  • Austria;
  • Belgium;
  • Denmark;
  • Finland;
  • Greece;
  • Ireland;
  • Italy;
  • Portugal;
  • Spain;
  • United Kingdom


Data from six waves of the European Community Household Panel (1996–2001) in 11 countries suggest that low-paid employees are significantly less satisfied with their job than the high-paid in southern Europe, but not in the northern countries. Proxying job satisfaction for job quality, the authors show that while low-paid employment does not necessarily mean low-quality employment, workers in some countries suffer the double penalty of low pay and low job quality. Such dualism across European labour markets, they argue, reflects different country-level approaches to the trade-off between flexibility and security, calling for a policy focus on the latter to enhance job quality.