Which Data Profession Has The Highest Job Satisfaction?

KDnuggets poll compares Machine Learning Engineer, Researcher, comments
Fig. 1: Avg. Job Satisfaction by position
Bar width corresponds to the number of respondents.

Next, we examined the changes in job satisfaction with years on the job. We see that the satisfaction (green line) drops with time, becoming close to zero after 4 years and staying low between 4 and 16, and rising sharply for the few people with over 16 years on the job.

Poll Job Satisfaction Vs Years

Fig. 2: Avg. Job Satisfaction vs Years on the Job
Green line is the avg job satisfaction (left vertical axis).
Blue bars correspond to the count of respondents (right vertical axis).

Since we only had 9 respondents with 16 or more years on the job, we merged this group with 8 or more years on the job for the following analysis.

We also found that job satisfaction changes differently for different positions - see Fig. 3, which shows results for the 4 most common positions (at least 40 respondents).

Poll Job Satisfaction By Position By Years

Fig. 3: Avg. Job Satisfaction by position and years on the job, for 4 most common titles
Bar height and the number above it correspond to job satisfaction, bar width to the number of respondents. Color is green for more positive job satisfaction, red for more negative one.

We note that "Data Scientist/Statistician" job satisfaction drops relatively slowly with time, unlike data / BI Analysts who become unhappy after 2 years on the job, and Software developers who are mostly unhappy.

Participation by employment type was
  • Industry/Self-employed, 75%, 0.49 avg. job satisfaction
  • Academia/University, 9.4%, 0.37 avg. job satisfaction
  • Government/Non-profit, 7.9%, 0.40 avg. job satisfaction
  • Other, 7.7%, 0.10 avg. job satisfaction
Regional participation was
  • US/Canada, 39%
  • Europe, 33%
  • Asia, 17%
  • Latin America, 5.0%
  • Australia/NZ, 3.5%
  • Africa/Middle East, 2.8%
Fig. 4 shows job satisfaction by region, with Africa/Middle East and Australia leading. Asia had low job satisfaction, and Latin America avg. job satisfaction was zero (Neutral).

Poll Job Satisfaction By Region

Fig. 4: Avg. Job Satisfaction by Region

Next table shows details by position.

Table 1: Job Satisfaction by Position

Position Avg. Job Satisfaction Count
Machine Learning Engineer 1.11 35 (5.5%)
Researcher / Professor 0.72 32 (5.0%)
Data Scientist/Statistician 0.71 217 (34%)
Manager/Director 0.44 57 (9.0%)
Data / BI Analyst 0.40 129 (20%)
Data Engineer 0.39 23 (3.6%)
Student 0.09 32 (5.0%)
Software Developer -0.24 46 (7.2%)
Other position -0.27 64 (10%)

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