New research published by The Cabinet Office in the UK has revealed that being a member of the clergy is associated with the highest levels of life satisfaction.
Here are the top 10 occupations:
- Chief executives and senior officials
- Managers and proprietors in agriculture and horticulture
- Company secretaries
- Quality assurance and regulatory professionals
- Health care practice managers
- Medical practitioners
- Hotel and accommodation managers and proprietors
- Skilled metal, electrical and electronic trades supervisors
The research is part of the drive by the UK government to provide information which might give a boost to the nation’s well-being (ONS, 2014).
In descending order of life satisfaction, then, here are the 10 occupations in which people are least satisfied.
- Plastics process operatives
- Bar staff
- Care escorts
- Sports and leisure assistants
- Telephone salespersons
- Floorers and wall tilers
- Industrial cleaning process occupations
- Debt, rent and other cash collectors
- Elementary construction occupations
- Publicans and managers of licensed premises
It’s interesting to note that both managers of bars, and people who work in them, come in the bottom ten for life satisfaction out of 274 occupations.
Another clear observation is that better paid jobs are much more likely to feature at the top of the list than the bottom.
The link between money and satisfaction isn’t a surprising conclusion, although there are some people who don’t earn much but are pretty satisfied with their lives. This group includes fitness instructors, the clergy, school secretaries and dental nurses.
Down at the other end of the list, some are reasonably well-paid but have low life satisfaction. This group includes quantity surveyors, chemical scientists and paramedics.
These occupations are unusual, though, most of the better paid jobs — like doctors, IT managers and dentists — cluster towards the top of the list, while most of the worst paid jobs are down at the bottom.
None of this means that running a pub causes you to be unhappy or that being a minister causes you to be happy.
These are just associations with no other factors taken into account.
So it could well be that people who are happier tend to become ministers, farmers or hotel managers.
Whereas, perhaps naturally miserable people manage bars.
All that said, some of the jobs at the top of the list do actually have the hallmarks of satisfying occupations, some of which are:
- Fair pay.
- Sense of achievement.
- Complexity and variety.
Many of these factors are absent from the jobs at the bottom of the list.
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
Image credit: Paval Hadzinski