Pay Satisfaction Questionnaire (PSQ)


The Pay Satisfaction Questionnaire (PSQ) was developed by Heneman and Schwab (1985). It uses four subscales to measure satisfaction with pay level, amount of last raise, benefits, and pay structure/administration. The subscales can also be combined into a composite measure for overall pay satisfaction. Heneman and Schwab initially hypothesized five dimensions of pay satisfaction: pay level, pay raises, benefits, structure, and administra­tion. Based on factor analysis results, the pay level, raises, and benefits dimensions were supported, but the structure and administration dimensions were combined into a single fourth dimension (Judge, 1993b).


Coefficient alpha for the composite measure of pay satisfaction ranged from .77 to .88. Coefficient alpha values for the four subscales ranged from .73 to .96 (Blau, 1994; Carraher & Buckley, 1996; DeConinck, Stilwell, & Brock, 1996; Huber et al., 1992; Jones, Scarpello, & Bergmann, 1999; Judge, 1993b; Lee & Farh, 1999; Welbourne, 1998; Welbourne & Cable, 1995).


Expectations about the level of equitable pay were negatively correlated with satisfaction with pay level, pay structure/administration, and amount of last raise. The four subscales of the pay satisfaction questionnaire were also positively correlated with overall job satisfaction (Huber et al., 1992). Carraher and Buckley (1996) used confirmatory factor analysis to show the number of dimensions best used to measure pay satisfaction differed by cog­nitive complexity of employees. Four dimensions (pay level, benefits, raises, and pay structure-administration) fit the data better for more cognitively complex employees. In Shaw, Duffy, Jenkins, and Gupta (1999), confirmatory factor analysis showed that a four-factor model had the best fit with the data. Confirmatory factor analyses by Judge (1993b) and DeConinck et al. (1996) both found that the items from the PSQ loaded on the hypothesized dimensions, and the overall fit supported the four dimen­ sional model. The factor loadings were similar across job classifications and the dimensions of the PSQ were empirically separable. Judge (1993b) found that the PSQ dimensions displayed differing patterns of correlations with hypothesized predictors. For example, salary level correlated positively with satisfaction with pay level; pay relative to others doing similar work in other companies correlated positively with all the PSQ dimensions; pay raise history correlated positively with satisfaction with raises; understand­ ing of the pay system correlated positively with satisfaction with pay level, satisfaction with raises and satisfaction with pay structure and administra­ tion, but not with satisfaction with benefits. Pay satisfaction measured with the PSQ correlated positively with pay satisfaction measured by the Minne­ sota Satisfaction Questionnaire and pay satisfaction measured by the Job Descriptive Index. All three measures of pay satisfaction correlated nega­ tively with perceived inequity in pay and positively with an employee’s amount of pay. Correlations among pay level, pay raises, and structure/ administration were substantially larger than the correlations of these dimensions with satisfaction with benefits (Judge, 1993b; Welbourne & Cable, 1995). DeConinck and colleagues (1996) found that the four PSQ dimensions were empirically distinct from distributive justice.


Heneman, H. G., & Schwab, D. P. (1985). Pay satisfaction: Its multidimen­sional nature and measurement. International Journal of Psychology, 20, 129-141. © 1985, Elsevier. Reprinted with permission.


Responses are obtained on a 5-point Likert-type scale where 1 = very dissat­isfied and 5 = very satisfied.

  1. My take-home pay
  2. My benefit package.
  3. My most recent raise
  4. Influence my supervisor has on my pay.
  5. My current salary
  6. Amount the company pays towards my benefits
  7. The raises I have typically received in the past
  8. The company’s pay structure
  9. Information the company gives about pay issues of concern to me
  10. My overall level of pay
  11. The value of my benefits
  12. Pay of other jobs in the company
  13. Consistency of the company’s pay policy
  14. Size of my current salary
  15. The number of benefits I receive
  16. How my raises are determined
  17. Differences in pay among jobs in the company
  18. How the company administers pay