Autonomy in paid work and employee subjective well-being

Publication type

Journal Article

Published in

Work and Occupations


Daniel Wheatley

Publication date


This article explores the relationship between different forms of autonomy, categorized into 'job control' and 'schedule control,' and measures of subjective well-being, using UK panel data from Understanding Society. Levels of autonomy differ considerably among UK employees. Managers report the greatest autonomy. Professionals, especially women, and less skilled occupations report substantially less. Panel probit, analysis of covariance, and change-score analysis evidence not only the positive impact of autonomy but also the differentiated and gendered relationship between autonomy and subjective well-being measures. Job control, including over tasks and pace of work, increases job and leisure satisfaction. Autonomy over work manner increases leisure and life satisfaction, but only among women. Informal schedule control has positive impacts on job (men and women) and life (men only) satisfaction.

Volume and page numbers

44, 296-328





Sociology Of Labour, Labour Market, Organizations And Firms and Well Being



Is referenced by: Hamilton, C. (2018) Understanding Society, the UK Household Longitudinal Study – Written evidence (IFP0021) [House of Lords Select Committee on Intergenerational Fairness and Provision]. London: Great Britain. Parliament. House of Lords. Select Committee on Intergenerational Fairness and Provision.

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