Which careers provide the least job satisfaction?

In response to Yang-May’s question about which jobs were at the bottom of the happiness and satisfaction league tables, here’s the information according to the American General Social Surveys* (GSS) carried out between 1998 and 2006:

The question asked was ‘On the whole, how satisfied are you with the work you do – would you say you are very satisfied, moderately satisfied, a little dissatisfied, or very satisfied?’

The mean score ranges from 1 (very dissatisfied) to 4 (very satisfied).

The same survey also asked about general happiness:

The question asked was ‘Taken all together, how would you say things are these days -would you say you are very happy, pretty happy or not too happy?’

The mean score ranges from 1 (not too happy) to 3 (very happy).

The survey results reveal that the least happy and least satisfied are those people doing unskilled manual or service jobs, including customer service assistants and people who handle complaints.

Research suggests that job satisfaction and well-being are less to do with salary or status of a job, and more to do with how much control you have over the job you do. Even though the amount of stress you experience tends to increase as you rise through the ranks, so too does your autonomy, and is it this, or the lack of it, which affects your sense of well-being and satisfaction.

What’s interesting is that even the lowest scores aren’t really that bad….

If you have any further thoughts or comments on these survey results, we’d love to hear them.

One Response

  1. Yang-May Says:

    Hi Bridget – thanks for rooting out this information. It isn’t surprising that it’s people with least autonomy in their jobs who are unhappy. Customer complaints staff must have the worst job, having to deal with irate people all the time!

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