Training organisation City & Guilds has published the Career Happiness Index 2012, which offers broad insights into what people in the UK consider to be most important factors contributing to their happiness at work.
The study reveals the jobs that make people the happiest and why, painting a picture of a British workforce who want flexibility, reasonable control over their daily duties and the opportunity to use their skills to tackle challenges and gain rewards.
Of the 2,200 workers surveyed, gardeners and florists topped the list of happiest workers with almost nine in ten (87 per cent) saying they were happy in their job.
Eighty per cent said it was because they were able to manage their own workload and have autonomy over their schedule and daily tasks, while 82 per cent agreed that being able to use and hone their skills every day helped to boost their job satisfaction.
Those who ranked lowest on the index were bankers (just 44 per cent are happy), IT and data processors (48 perr cent happy) and human resources employees (54 per cent happy).
Despite the presumption that these professions are often well-paid, these largely desk-based, high pressure jobs don’t provide workers with fulfilment.
The findings are released to mark The Skills Show 2012, the UK’s biggest skills and careers event taking place at the Birmingham NEC this week.
Overall, the Career Happiness Index shows that people in vocationally trained and skills-based jobs, such as hairdressers, gardeners, plumbers and electricians, were happiest - 65 per cent compared to 58 per cent of those in largely academically trained, office-based jobs.
Learning a trade from the beginning and working your way up also has a positive impact on levels of pride, with 68 per cent of those in vocationally trained jobs saying they were proud of their work, compared to 62 per cent of those in academically-trained jobs.
The report also looks at employment status and personal circumstances in order to understand how these can affect a person’s well-being and satisfaction levels at work. Highlights include:
> Self-employed people are overwhelmingly happier at work (85 per cent).
> More than four in five (83 per cent) of self-employed people claim they enjoy having a flexible work life and 91 per cent said they like having control over their daily duties.
> Only a little over half (54 per cent) of those in full-time employment felt their working conditions were flexible and the same proportion felt they were appreciated for their work.
> Money doesn’t lead to happiness – those earning over £60,000 are the unhappiest (22 per cent).
> Older people (those aged fifty-six and above) are slightly happier by seven per cent (65 per cent compared to 59 per cent of those aged 46-55).
City & Guilds group director Nick Bradley said: “At a time when both happiness and employment are high on the government agenda, we wanted to link the two areas and look into what affects levels of happiness at work and in life.
“Most people spend half of their time working, so we wanted to find out what makes people happy at work and how that differs by job role. It’s particularly interesting to see that those who have taken the vocational route are happiest and feel the most pride in their work; there’s certainly something to be said from learning specific skills and working your way up the career ladder.”
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