Autonomy in paid work and employee subjective well-being

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-328
JournalWork and Occupations
Issue number3
Early online date5 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017


  • autonomy , job and schedule control , job quality , job satisfaction , subjective wellbeing