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Research Throws Up Surprising Facts About Who Claims The Most Job Satisfaction

Originally Published - 2 March 1999

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.

Professor Oswald's web page with further details on this and other research can be found at:- His Home Page

For further details please contact:

Professor Andrew Oswald
Department of Economics
University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK
Tel: 01203 523510 (Office), 01367 860005 (Home)
email Office:
email Home: