The beauty of job satisfaction

The Beatles once told us that money can't buy you love. Turns out it can't buy you job satisfaction either.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

According to the latest edition of the City & Guilds Happiness Index, financial rewards are not the reason why people are happy in their jobs – in fact, in each of the last five years it’s rated pretty low down the list. Instead, almost all of us say that having an interest in what we do for a living is the most important reason for job satisfaction – 57% of us have stayed with our current employer for that very reason.

And just to hammer the point home, the cheeriest professionals in the UK don’t work within the Square Mile (well, not in financial services anyway). Believe it or not, beauty therapists are now officially the happiest employees in the land, with an average happiness rating of nine out of 10. More than half of them reckon they’re happier now than a year ago, which apparently is largely due to better relationships with their co-workers. Indeed, one in three rated their happiness at 10/10 – they literally couldn’t be any happier in their jobs. When was the last time you thought that?

In fact, bankers were just about the most miserable of all those surveyed – and after the year some of them have had, we can’t say we’re surprised. All they can do is look enviously at their local beauticians – not to mention hairdressers and members of the armed forces, who ranked second and third respectively on the happiness index. The only consolation for all those gloomy bankers is that there is someone worse off – namely builders, who ranked rock bottom (to be fair, the construction industry has had a pretty rotten year too).

However, employers apparently have a lot to learn about how to keep us happy. Although work/life balance remains a major driver of job satisfaction, only one in five businesses have adopted flexible working policies, while only one in ten let staff work from home. Not very progressive… ‘By taking such a blinkered approach, they risk the rise of an unmotivated and unproductive workforce, and even potentially losing their staff to competitors’, says City & Guilds MD Bob Coates.

On the other hand, it’s presumably a bit tricky for beauty therapists to work remotely, and it doesn’t seem to have done them any harm…

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