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The secret to Australian workers' happiness

Photo: Getty Images.

What’s the secret to happiness?

Some say it’s relationships and their quality.

Others believe the secret is nestled in the realisation humans don’t feel levels but changes around whether things are doing better or worse than expected. And they have built a neat mathematical formula to prove it.

That said, what makes us happy in life might be a little different to what makes us happy in our work.

Of course we know money does matter when it comes to overall happiness.

But a recent international survey of 10 million employee reviews by – the world’s biggest jobs site – found that it’s not money but overall work/life balance that Australian workers report is the key to happiness.

Indeed’s study ranked Australia 11th for job satisfaction, coming in below New Zealand at number eight but above the UK and US at numbers 22 and 25 respectively.

Indeed said 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”.

While previous Indeed research showed compensation rates “are the most important motivator in people searching for a new role”, Chris McDonald, Indeed’s Australia and New Zealand managing director, said the new research showed “that job satisfaction is often not dependent on salary or benefits”.

But McDonald said the survey “doesn’t mean that pay is not an important factor for recruitment… 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,” he said.

State-based, the data showed that Melbourne’s workers were the most satisfied, followed by Sydney then Brisbane, Darwin and Adelaide, with Perth in last place.

Looking internationally it seems nebulous concepts like national wealth had minimal impact on individual’s job satisfaction. That might help explain why Colombian workers are the most happy and French, German and Japanese among the bottom four in terms of worker happiness.

Equally however, it seems demographics, and the responsibilities which come with being a little older, matter as well, making work/life balance more difficult, Indeed said. Interestingly both German and Japanese workers are among the oldest in the survey at 45 and 46 respectively while Colombian workers are just 28 years old.

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