Survey Says … You're Happy

Respondents to the Third Annual Campus Safety Salary Survey indicate they continue to enjoy their careers. This second part of our two-part series reveals who is happy as well as the few who might be tempted to look elsewhere due to dissatisfaction.

Considering that only 50 percent of all Americans say they are content with their jobs, the fact that 90 percent of respondents to the Third Annual Campus Safety Salary Survey indicated their job satisfaction level is “good” or “excellent” is impressive. Thirty-eight percent rated their satisfaction level as “excellent” — two percentage points below last year’s tally but more than double the national average of 14 percent. The percentage of those who rated their job happiness as “good” increased two points this year to 52 percent. The percentage of respondents who indicated “fair” or “poor” stayed the same (10 percent).

These results indicate that despite their shortcomings, campus law enforcement jobs, particularly the positions of chief, director, deputy chief and assistant director, are valued by those who hold them. This level of satisfaction is reflected in the career longevity of most respondents — more than half have been in the campus police/security industry for more than 16 years, and 58 percent have been in their current position for more than four years.

Money Won’t Buy You Happiness — Usually
Last issue, Campus Safety unveiled the salaries campus sworn officers, non-sworn officers and chiefs and directors make each year (see “The Road to Competitive Salaries: 2 Steps Forward, 1 Step Back”). Although the level of pay is generally less than those in traditional law enforcement, this fact does not appear to affect respondent satisfaction.

Chief/director/upper level security management respondents indicated their median salary is $75,000, which is $19,000 less than the median expected salary for a typical Sheriff/Police Chief in the United States (source: Despite this, more than 93 percent rated their job satisfaction as “excellent” (44 percent) or “good” (49 percent).

However, as the level of pay decreases for respondents (regardless of title) within the campus community, so does the likelihood that they rate their job satisfaction as being “excellent.” Only 15 percent of those who make less than $30,000 checked “excellent,” while 61 percent of those making $100,001-$110,000 indicated the highest level of job satisfaction on their survey.

Deputy chiefs or assistant directors rated their job satisfaction as “excellent” 31 percent of the time, and “good” 60 percent of the time. Thirty-five percent of the lieutenant, captain and supervisor respondents rated their job satisfaction as “excellent”; 56 percent rated it as “good” and 8 percent rated it as “fair.” Officers or sergeants rated their job satisfaction as “excellent” 20 percent of the time, “good” 57 percent of the time, “fair” 16 percent of the time and “poor” 7 percent of the time.

Male respondents (40 percent) were more likely to rate their job satisfaction as “excellent” than women (30 percent). Women (62 percent) checked “good” on their survey more often than men (51 percent).

Hispanic respondents (53 percent) were the most likely to indicate “excellent” as their job satisfaction level, compared to whites, who rated it at 40 percent and blacks at 29 percent. African Americans (57 percent) were the most likely to rate their job satisfaction as “good,” compared to whites (52 percent) and Hispanics (38 percent). More than 14 percent of black respondents rated their job satisfaction as “fair” or “poor” compared to Hispanics and whites (9 percent each).

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About the Author

robin hattersley headshot

Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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