Most UK workers are remarkably satisfied with their jobs
(particularly so if they are a 55 year old woman in a small company) according to new
research by Professor Andrew Oswald and Mr Jonathan Gardner of the Economics Department at
the University of Warwick. The researchers have been examining job satisfaction in Britain
and other nations. The authors have followed 7000 randomly selected Britons - tracking and
interviewing them in each of the years of the 1990s. The broad patterns found for Great
Britain are replicated on other European nations and the US. Some of the authors' findings
are particularly surprising.
The representative British person with extremely low job satisfaction is:
Male, aged in his late 30s, good university degree, low income, works more than 50
hours a week in a private sector job in a large company, commutes for 1 hour in each
direction, lives in the South East.
The representative British person with very high job satisfaction is:
Female, with only O levels, high income, 55 years old, working 30 hours a week
self-employed, or in a public sector job or small firm. Lives close to the workplace,
probably in the South West or North.
The authors also show that: firms with incentive pay seem to offer higher job
satisfaction, job satisfaction in the public sector has been falling through the 1990s,
and that teachers have unusually low job satisfaction.
Overall the message from the economists' work is encouraging. Contrary to some opinion,
most workers in the UK appear to be remarkably satisfied with their jobs.