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Australia ranks 11th for happiest workers globally

Long term employee satisfaction hinges on work-life balance, rather than salary, according to a study by Indeed. The study ranked Australia eleventh for job satisfaction, coming in below New Zealand (#8) but above the UK (#22) and US (#23).


This week, Indeed released its first Happiness Index based on data from 10m employee reviews on Indeed’s Company Pages. The study was based on an analysis of five different elements contributing to job happiness. Ranked in order of importance to respondents these were: work-life balance, quality of management, office culture, job security & advancement, and compensation & benefits.


When looking at specific Australian cities, the research revealed that Melbourne-based workers were the most satisfied at work, followed by Sydney, then Brisbane, Darwin and Adelaide, with Perth in last place. In terms of job roles, some of the most satisfied workers in Australia are teachers’ aides, personal assistants, nannies and tutors. Several healthcare support roles such as care assistant and caregiver also rank highly.


Previous global research from Indeed showed that headline compensation rates are the most important motivator in people searching for a new role. This research, however, shows that when people are in a role, their focus turns to the quality of their work experience and striking a balance between the pressures of their personal and professional lives.


Chris McDonald, managing director of ANZ at Indeed, commented, “We can clearly see that job satisfaction is often not dependent on salary or benefits. Pay levels were consistently ranked below less tangible benefits like the balance people are able to strike between their personal and professional life.


“That doesn’t mean that pay is not an important factor for recruitment, but we know that job seekers extensively research the companies they are considering applying to. Career paths and compensation still matter. However, this study shows employers should focus on communicating how they help workers achieve a positive work-life balance, and any flexible working practices that they have in place to ensure their teams stay happy and engaged.”


The research revealed:

  • Overall national wealth appeared to have a minimal impact on job satisfaction.
  • Demographics appears to impact performance, with older countries more unhappy at work, perhaps because responsibilities make work/life balance harder to achieve. Japan (median age of 45) ranks 26th in the survey, and Germany (media age 46) ranks 27th. In Colombia the median age is 28 and in Australia it is 37.
  • Workplace culture is viewed as more important than work/life balance in Colombia, the Netherlands and Russia
  • Workers in the US view the quality of management to be the most important factor
  • Japanese workers are the least satisfied on every measure except compensation where South Africans are the most disgruntled
  • Top ranking jobs for happiness in Australia included: nanny, teacher and personal assistant


McDonald said, “Our data shows that work satisfaction is unrelated to the overall wealth of the country, as developed and undeveloped countries rank relatively evenly for job satisfaction. One possible reason for high satisfaction scores in developing countries where there may be more unemployment is that people feel fortunate to be working; and they may also have been able to keep their work/life balance more in check than workers in the ‘always-on’ developed world.”



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