Continuing education gives job satisfaction

18 June 2009

Companies that increase employee competence using continuing education have the most satisfied employees, according to a job market survey carried out by BI Norwegian School of Management.

 “This is a conscious effort by us,” says Per-Espen Magnussen, HR director at Gjensidige.

MBA students have the highest degree of job satisfaction. 90 percent said their job satisfaction increased to a great extent or a very great extent following graduation. Of participants in continuing education programmes, 60 percent responded that they have a greater level of job satisfaction following completion of the course.  

Glenn Ruud, studiedirektør BI”There are a number of reasons as to why continuing education increases job satisfaction, but the most important reason is that through further education, you gain new knowledge which again opens new doors. This could be especially important during times when companies need to think differently. In demanding executive programmes, such as MBA, we see a higher increase than in continuing education at lower levels, which reflects the fact that they qualify for more interesting challenges“, says Glenn Ruud, Director of Studies Executive Master, at BI Norwegian School of Management.

Not the managerial type

Tone Sejnæs Eilertsen agrees completely with the conclusions of the job market analysis. Today, she is the Analysis Manager for Product Underwriting in Gjensidige, a position she would not even consider applying for until she participated in continuing education at BI Norwegian School of Management.   

“Job satisfaction comes and goes. After several years of working, I got to a point where I wanted new challenges. I wanted to delve into more theory and to develop as a person, and applied for a very interesting Master of management programme called “Interaction and Management”. And after that I took the programmes “Management: Power and meaning” and “Strategic management,” Eilertsen says. She completed her Master’s degree while she worked as a product analyst at Gjensidige.  

“Of course it was very tiring at times, but the courses were designed to combine with work, and my employer was very flexible in order for this to be a success. A positive side effect of it all was that I’ve become more aware of my own potential. I never saw myself as the management type, so clearly, the Master of management programme opened up some new ideas and new opportunities for me,” Eilertsen says. During her studies, she was offered a management position at Gjensidige.

Career plan

Per-Espen Magnussen, HR director at Gjensidige, says that about 1 500 employees participated in various continuing education programmes last year, such as employee programmes and management development programmes with lecturers from BI Norwegian School of Management. In addition, about 300 employees participated in external courses and programmes with study credits. Gjensidige offers both individual assistance and company courses.  

 “This is a conscious effort by us. The motivation is that we want to be an attractive place to work, so we can attract and keep competent co-workers. A previous study we carried out, showed that both those that were offered continuing education and those that were not (but knew the company had such arrangements) increased their affective commitment,” he explains.  

Every year, Gjensidige carries out a personnel satisfaction survey, which correlates with BI Norwegian School of Management’s job market survey on continuing education.  

“In Gjensidige’s annual personnel satisfaction survey, we see a higher degree of satisfaction in the group which has participated in courses and/or more extensive study programmes. If we see discontent in connection with continuing education, it is usually when the co-worker does not experience a change in responsibilities following completion of the studies. Therefore the supervisor must draw up a career and follow-up plan for the participant in a study programme before we can support the study,” he says.  

Seven out of ten loyal to the employer

The survey shows that both Gjensidige and other employers benefit from the increased competence. About seven out of ten who take a yearly unit or bachelor of management while working, say they still work for the same employer. As for MBA and Master of management programmes, slightly fewer remain with the same employer.  


In total, 660 continuing education students at BI Norwegian School of Management who completed their education in 2008 received the survey.

278 responded (42 percent)

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