Purpose: This study aims to examine the relationships between job satisfaction, and anticipated turnover intentions in the Saudi academic context focusing on data collected from 136 faculty employed in five different private universities. The aim is to identify the factors that can affect a faculty job satisfaction and can lead to thoughts of leaving the university, or even quitting the teaching job, which in turn can lead to actual turnover- a result associated with high cost for any organization. How demographic variables and satisfaction interact to explain faculty intentions to leave is also examined as it is not sufficiently understood.
Methods: To collect data, the study adopted an exploratory research strategy based on a mixed methods approach. Both qualitative and quantitative data generated helped to identify the factors leading to job satisfaction/dissatisfaction. The factors arrived at fall into eight major themes: overall satisfaction, promotion, supervision, pay, coworker relations, quality of students, faculty perceptions toward the institutional policies and practices, and work environment.
Results: In the first instance, the findings indicated that all of our eight variables-individually, have direct, significant, and negative relationship with quit intentions. Second, when we ran multiple regressions on overall satisfaction and pay satisfaction where pay showed a significant, direct, and negative relationship with faculty quit intentions. The findings have also indicated that the perception of faculty of state and the university policies and practices is even more powerful and important in shaping faculty job satisfaction and subsequently their intentions to leave. Additionally, a moderation role for gender and nationality existed in the relationship between pay satisfaction and quit intentions. We have also shown differences in the levels of job satisfaction and intention to leave between different groups of the selected universities but no major differences existed. Work family integration was tested as a mediator of the relationship between factors of job satisfaction and turnover intentions, but no mediation effects were found.
Practical Implications: the results generated from our analysis send two important messages to the owners and Deans of private universities in Saudi Arabia: first, to consider the factors that can push a faculty member to leave the job and second, to consider how to increase faculty satisfaction and reduce quit intentions.
Research limitations and future research are discussed. Recommendations to administrators of universities are provided.
Keywords: Saudi Context, Job satisfaction, Turnover intentions, Gender Nationality, Work-Family integration.