Professors rate their happiness above average.

At CareerExplorer, we conduct an ongoing survey with millions of people and ask them how satisfied they are with their careers. As it turns out, professors rate their career happiness 3.6 out of 5 stars which puts them in the top 25% of careers.

To put this into perspective, we compared how happy professors are to similar careers in the industry. Take a look at the results below:

Salaries and satisfaction ratings in similar careers

Career Satisfaction Avg Salary
Professor
3.6
$64k
Clergy
3.6
$50k
Principal
3.5
$98k
Graduate teaching assistant
3.4
$33k
Education administrator
3.2
$48k

So what does it mean to be happy in your career? Let’s break it down into different dimensions:

  • Salary: Are professors happy with their salary?
  • Meaning: Do professors find their jobs meaningful?
  • Personality fit: How well suited are people’s personalities to their everyday tasks as professors?
  • Work environment: How enjoyable are professor’s work environments?
  • Skills utilization: Are professors making the best use of their abilities?

Are professors happy with their salary?

Professors rated their satisfaction with their salaries 2.9/5. Professors tend to be quite unhappy with their salary, with very few reporting satisfaction with their pay.

We asked professors how fairly compensated they are for their work.
Their response was:

2.9 out of 5 stars

1306 professors

5 Star
14%

14% of professors rated their compensation 5 stars

4 Star
17%

17% of professors rated their compensation 4 stars

3 Star
26%

26% of professors rated their compensation 3 stars

2 Star
25%

25% of professors rated their compensation 2 stars

1 Star
17%

17% of professors rated their compensation 1 stars

Do professors find their jobs meaningful?

On average, professors rate the meaningfulness of their work a 3.7/5. Unlike many careers, professors have little difficulty finding meaning in their work, and it likely constitutes one of the main reasons people become professors.

We asked professors how meaningful they found their work.
Their response was:

3.7 out of 5 stars

1305 professors

5 Star
32%

32% of professors rated how meaningful they found their career 5 stars

4 Star
29%

29% of professors rated how meaningful they found their career 4 stars

3 Star
22%

22% of professors rated how meaningful they found their career 3 stars

2 Star
11%

11% of professors rated how meaningful they found their career 2 stars

1 Star
6%

6% of professors rated how meaningful they found their career 1 stars

How well are people’s personalities suited to everyday tasks as professors?

Professors rated their personality fit with their work an average of 4.1/5. The majority of professors find their personalities quite well suited to their work, with relatively few having complaints about their fit.

We asked professors how well their personalities fit into their careers.
Their response was:

4.1 out of 5 stars

1392 professors

5 Star
41%

41% of professors rated their career fit 5 stars

4 Star
38%

38% of professors rated their career fit 4 stars

3 Star
15%

15% of professors rated their career fit 3 stars

2 Star
4%

4% of professors rated their career fit 2 stars

1 Star
2%

2% of professors rated their career fit 1 stars

How enjoyable is a professor’s work environment?

As a whole, professors rated their enjoyment of their work environment 3.9/5. A solid majority of professors enjoy their work environment, probably contributing to overall higher satisfaction with working as a professor.

We asked professors how much they enjoyed their work environment.
Their response was:

3.9 out of 5 stars

1395 professors

5 Star
36%

36% of professors rated their work environment 5 stars

4 Star
35%

35% of professors rated their work environment 4 stars

3 Star
18%

18% of professors rated their work environment 3 stars

2 Star
7%

7% of professors rated their work environment 2 stars

1 Star
3%

3% of professors rated their work environment 1 stars

Are professors making the best use of their abilities?

Former professors on CareerExplorer have rated their skills utilization 3.7/5. Most professors surveyed find that they manage to use their abilities to their fullest as a professor, which helps contribute to higher career satisfaction in the long term.

We asked professors how well their abilities were used in their careers.
Their response was:

3.7 out of 5 stars

1397 professors

5 Star
32%

32% of professors rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 5 stars

4 Star
30%

30% of professors rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 4 stars

3 Star
23%

23% of professors rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 3 stars

2 Star
11%

11% of professors rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 2 stars

1 Star
4%

4% of professors rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 1 stars