This paper contributes to the growing multidisciplinary body of literature on subjective well‐being by investigating the longitudinal stability and impact of societal cultural values (SCVs) – as opposed to the more common organizational values – on job satisfaction. It is assumed that SCVs evolve slowly; hence, their impact on job satisfaction is likely to remain stable over time. False adherence to this assumption could cause misalignment between organizational policies/practices and expectations formed by societal culture, decreasing job satisfaction and adversely affecting productivity, competiveness and prosperity. Four waves of the European Values Study are used to examine whether SCVs have evolved and their impacts on job satisfaction over a relatively short time: 1981–2008. SCVs are parameterized through reference to traditional vs secular‐rational, and survival vs self‐expression value continuums. Results indicate that the strength of many SCVs has declined, the impacts of traditional societal values on job satisfaction have remained fairly constant, and the impacts of survival societal values on job satisfaction have declined substantially over this sample period. These reductions in SCVs amplify the importance of accounting for such changes when designing new or adjusting existing policies/practices to enhance job satisfaction and stimulate improvements in productivity, competitiveness and prosperity.