Top Tips for IELTS

Job satisfaction – sample IELTS essay

This is the next in my series of  model IELTS essays. In this essay on job satisfaction and employment, I talk you through different ways to structure the essay – there is always more than one way to skin a cat. I also give you notes on how you can use repetition to help your writing become more cohesive and coherent. Repeating words and ideas can be a good thing. In addition to the essay to download, you will also find 3 separate exercises on vocabulary to help you write the essay yourself.

Understanding the task

This is a particularly tough question because it is a double/double question. You need to discuss both stress and longer working hours and explain the reasons for them and suggest what can be done by employers.

Nowadays many jobs are more stressful and the working day is longer. What are the reasons for this? What can employers do to help employees?

Thinking about essay structure

There are different ways you can structure this essay. Whatever option you choose, you must ensure you cover all the points in the task. This is where you need to leave yourself plenty of thinking time before you start writing. What I do here is to show you some of the possible choices you have. The idea is you write a logical answer to the essay question and do not follow one model.

4 paragraph options

One choice would be to divide the essay by employees (stress and hours) and employers (solutions):

  • content 1: explain reasons for both stress and long working hours
  • content 2: suggest what employers could do
Another possible choice would be divide the essay by stress and hours, combining the point of view of employers and employees:
  • content 1: write about stress and what employers could do about it
  • content 2: write about working hours and what employers could do about it
Another option is to use your conclusion paragraph as a content paragraph too. If you take this option, you must ensure that the final paragraph also works as a conclusion to the essay
  • content 1: write about stress
  • content 2: write about working hours
  • content 3 and conclusion: what employers could do about stress and working hours

5 paragraph options

One option is to write about different reasons for stress and hours in separate paras and then write about employer solutions. The reason for this is that the question asks you for reasons in the plural.

  • content 1: reason 1 for stress and hours
  • content 2: reason 2 for stress and hours
  • content 3: employer suggestion
Another option would be to write about stress and hours separately and then deal with the employer suggestion and then add a conclusion:
  • content 1: write about stress
  • content 2: write about working hours
  • content 3: what employers could do about stress and working hours
  • separate conclusion

Ideas for the essay and for job satisfaction essays

In my model essay, I concentrate on one main idea “competition” and then show how it works in different ways to cause stress and create longer hours. The benefit of this approach is that it makes the essay more coherent if it is based around one central idea.
Tip – you don’t need to include all your ideas, just the ideas that make the essay coherent

Stress and longer working hours ideas

  • employees are worried about losing their jobs because of job market conditions – mass unemployment
  • globalisation causes greater competition and leads to everyone having to work harder
  • employees are not given adequate training
  • employees work individually and not in teams
  • poor management and lack of feedback
  • some countries do not regulate working hours
  • employees do too much overtime to earn more cash


  • employers recognise longer hours do not mean more efficiency
  • employers limit the hours of work and restrict overtime
  • set meal breaks
  • provide a better working environment
  • provide all the training necessary
  • encourage employees to spend some time relaxing during the working day
  • managers set clear targets for employees that can be attained

Other job satisfaction ideas

Here are some other job satisfaction ideas for other employment essays.

  • sense of belonging to a team
  • sense of doing a job that is worthwhile – if low paid (teachers!!!)
  • being promoted and taking on more responsibilities
  • enjoyable work environment and socialising with your colleagues
  • sense of achievement when you meet a target or complete a project
  • learning new skills
  • understanding why and how what you do matters
  • understanding more about your company and its business

Vocabulary for the essay – think word formation and collocations

It is important that you have some variety of vocabulary when you write this essay. This does not mean that you need to use lots of different words. In fact, your essay will be more cohesive if you repeat some words. All you need to do is make sure that you use them in different ways. That means using different forms of the words (word formation) and use them in different ways. In this essay, the key word is work. Here are some variations I use:


work longer hours

working conditions

at work

work for

do the same work

working day

work overtime

work more efficiently

I do of course use other words too. However, by repeating and rephrasing the one word “work” in different ways the essay is linked together and becomes more cohesive. It’s a trick you should try. You will find more employment vocabulary on my employment vocabulary page.

The essay to read and download

Read the essay - see the notes

Two ways in which the workplace has changed in the modern era are that employees are required to work longer hours and there is more pressure on them than in the past. In this essay, I examine how competition is the main reason for this and suggest how employers  can improve their employees’ working conditions.

Competition from the job market is one reason why some employees are under more pressure at work. High levels of unemployment mean that it would often be cheaper for an employer to hire someone else to do the same work. This naturally has a negative psychological effect on employees. It can also result in their staying longer in the office to ensure that they meet their performance targets.

Increased competition caused by globalisation is also significant. Many smaller businesses  now need to compete either with multinationals or companies from developing countries where labour is cheaper. The effect of this on employees is that they know they may be made redundant if the business they work for fails. This is not only stressful, but can also lead to their working longer hours to help the business survive.

Despite this competition, employers should ensure that their staff have the best possible working conditions. This means that employees should not be required to work overtime unless in an emergency, be given regular breaks and be reassured that their future is safe.  If this were to happen, the employees should work more efficiently, something which is in the interest of the employer.

My conclusion would be that competition from the job market and globalisation is the principal cause of stress at work and a longer working day. Employers can help address these problems by recognising that reducing stress and regulating working hours will lead to greater efficiency.

Vocabulary notes

You will find more exercises on vocab below. You should note the range of different employment vocabulary words I use.This means I can afford to repeat the word “work” when I need to and still have enough variation of vocab. The skill is to vary when you need to and be consistent when you need to.

To write this essay well, you need to think about cause and effect. See the different cause and effect language I use.

Identifying the task in the introduction

The introduction clearly identifies all the parts of the task. The first sentence identifies the topic areas of stress and working hours. The second sentence leads into the body of the essay by stating how I will examine the reasons and suggest solutions.

Coherence and essay structure notes

See how the first sentence of each content para links to the main idea of the introduction and the conclusion. Sometimes repetition is a good thing. 

Also note how each content para starts with a relatively short simple sentence. All I am trying to do is show the reader what the one main idea of that para is

Note how I don’t try and include all my ideas in the essay.

Download the essay

Model job satisfaction essay (5409)

Vocabulary exercises on the essay

Here are 3 exercises to help you write the essay yourself.

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11 Responses to Job satisfaction – sample IELTS essay

  1. FRBA January 14, 2012 at 12:50 pm #

    Hi Dominc,

    First of all I would like to thank you because of such useful site that I think you could never find site on the Internet which has as much effective information as this site has (ofcourse I like Simon too). Despite of designing part of site which I felt to some extent confusing to follow and takes a bit time to be familiar with , I think without no doubt that this is the best site about IELTS. Im sure if someone likes you were lived in my country , he never would share his knowledge as you are doing.
    Next I would like to ask you put some exercises about relative clause and how we can omit them as I found it is the best way to add information .
    At the end I have problem with this sentence in terms of grammar
    From (check your vocabulary for ACADEMIC ENGLISH )

    The atmospheres of most planets is not transparent , MAKING IT difficult for us to see the surface.( Am I right that it was” which makes it” then turned into making it)

    Sorry if I am so basic and take your time.

    • Dominic Cole January 14, 2012 at 1:37 pm #

      Thanks for the comment. Re the site design which part is most confusing? I know there are problems!! At the mo the site is only about a tenth built. By year end there should be neatly organised guides to essays. listening and reading (and perhaps part 1 writing). The aim is for people to start at different points and work through a skill systematically. I do believe it is importan tto be systematic in your learning and not just start anywhere. However, it will me take a little time to get there.

      Good question. In fact, I should be doing another lesson on relatives quite soon. You are quite right that it could have been “which makes it”. The point is that we often avoid relatives – they tend to be ugly and make your writing harder to understand. One way we do this is by using -ing.

  2. grateful teacher January 15, 2012 at 12:49 am #

    This site is excellent … very strong on Writing Skills.Simon´s site is perhaps stronger on The Speaking section with numerous model answers (for all 3 parts)and useful tips.
    Unlike the previous post I think the site is very well organised – and the model essays with their color-coded attention to vocab, cohesion, linking words … are first-rate.
    Thank you for your hard work

    • Dominic Cole January 15, 2012 at 3:22 am #

      Yes Simon is good. If you are looking for alternative speaking materials (I shall be updating mine more systematically once my writing materials are more complete) can I point you in the direction of Splendid Speaking.

      They have by some distance the best speaking materials on the net. Don’t be put off by the subscribe feature – it’s all free and the weekly transcripts and tips are second to none. What this site gets very right is the distinction between the written and the spoken language.

      I’d add that the materials for other exams are also well worth looking at. It can be very misleading to think of IELTS speaking as a peculiar skill. It isn’t. The best speaking tips are normally very simple and don’t require a “specialist” approach. Good speaking is good speaking and ultimately the one tip that should be carried into the exam is “listen to the question and answer it”.

      I’ll update this comment with another link from my IELTS directory. Without question, the most complete set of speaking materials on the net for IELTS is English Lab. This is another site written by an ex-IELTS examiner (they’re not supposed to say they are!). It is very, very complete indeed. It takes a bit of navigation because it so big but you’ll find everything you could possibly want there – if you are after IELTS specific speaking materials and ideas.

  3. manucheher January 15, 2012 at 4:28 am #

    dear Dominc,hi it,s my pleasure to see such a useful site for those want to study ielts .not only for students ,but for teachers .i as a teacher ejoy a lot and learn many things form it.just i want to thank you for your great job you ,ve done.wishing you the very best.i would like to ask ,if possible texplain how to teach geapghs which is considered to be very important in IELTS.please.IS there a specific method to teach?thanking you ..with deep respect and regards M.Andalibi

    • Dominic Cole January 15, 2012 at 4:45 am #

      Hi Always nice to hear from a fellow teacher. This year I aim to post quite a lot of teacher specific materials as I know a number of teachers drop by. In principle, I should post an idea/resource each Sunday. Have you found my task 1 teaching ideas that I have already posted? There are lots more to follow.

      Increasingly, I teach task 1 as just another bit of writing. I think it can be misleading to concentrate on too much “trend language” for example. Task 1 is graded in exactly the same way as an essay. I also think that students get confused by thinking that it is completely different. I’m not sure it is. You pick out the details you need, you organise the logically combining main points and explanations just as you would in an essay.

      Ironically, the idea of charts and graphs is to display information more clearly, but in my experience students often go wrong because they don’t really get the point of the chart/graph. Hence the lesson on demystifying charts. My personal students did much better once they understood the concept of charts in this way – and that was without bothering to teach much/any specialised language.

  4. Jiss January 15, 2012 at 10:16 am #


  5. Jiss January 15, 2012 at 10:18 am #


  6. Dinaz January 19, 2012 at 6:06 pm #

    In the competitive world of today, it is common for employees to spend long and stressful hours at work. This essay will discuss the socio economic reasons why employees need to work harder and put in longer hours ; it will also discuss what the employers can do to make the life easier for their working staff.

    intro for the above topic —–
    I wud chose the simple 4 paragraph essay – one describing the reasons why employees need to put longer hrs -one describing what employers can do to ease this —
    the intro and conclusion —–

  7. Dinaz January 19, 2012 at 6:10 pm #

    i loved your intro -mine suddenly looks awful – and i also love the way in which you have organised your essay —its terrific – thanks for sharing it with us 🙂

  8. Saidiy April 2, 2015 at 9:46 pm #

    The nights spent on learning insanely academic words would foster a good foundation for the language proficiency – I thought at the start of my journey to English. However, as years passed by, I realized the language shouldn’t be confined with tons of specification barriers that would limit one’s outlook into profound possibilities of the language. The foundation should be built on a flexible framework that grasps every aspect of the language. Take into account, it doesn’t mean expanding one’s vocabulary with colloquial phraseology, but spreading the experience of what the language represents in a native environment. Ielts is a cornerstone of English. Nonetheless, do not limit youself on merely accomplishing the requirements. Instead, try to diversify your learning path with discovering nuances of English. It can be done in infinite amount of ways. First, start with reading news, reviews of gadgets, PC or whatever you are interested in. The internet is your right hand for most of the cases. Other times, try to talk to natives. Ah, I am running out of time. So, Cheers up! And do not give up on your dreams!

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