CEOs are the happiest at work – while government and admin workers are more likely to be miserable

  • Australia’s happiest profession are sports and recreation, while government and defence are the least happy, according to SEEK.
  • The head of a recruitment company says businesses undervalue happiness.
  • Positive business conditions ahead for Australia’s unhappiest profession

New data from SEEK has found CEOs in Australia rate among the happiest workers in Australia, while Australia’s unhappiest workers are those in government and defence.

Almost 9 in 10 people in government and defence work said they were unhappy in their current role, according to the survey of 400 people released by job platform, SEEK. Admin and insurance roles also didn’t have workers jumping out of bed in the morning. On the contrary, Australians working in sport, farming or HR were remarkably happier.

Mark Smith, managing director of People2People recruitment, told Business Insider Australia he thought that so many people in government, admin, and customer service roles felt unappreciated or under-appreciated.

“It relates to the perception of the general population,” he said. “They’re not proud to say that they’re working in super or customer service.”

Mark Smith also pointed to uncertainty and the constant churn of restructuring in government roles that lead to so many workers being unsatisfied with their positions.

“Our government team’s first reaction was the constant restructuring, but that’s mainly for the contractors there who keep getting moved around,” he said. “If you put the bonuses in there it looks a little bit better, but government don’t get those. That’s similar for admin.”

It’s interesting to note this insight, as government and defence were in for top spot in recent job postings news from SEEK, as seen in the graph below, whereas sports and recreation is experiencing a drop off in its employment openings.

In a statement, Kathleen McCudden, Group HR Director for SEEK said professions like sport and recreation were more conducive to a positive working environment.

“While some employees wouldn’t necessarily describe their workplace as the happiest place on earth, it’s necessary to feel some degree of happiness day to day,” she said. “Performance at work and happiness are intrinsically linked, so if you’re approaching a job with negativity and reluctance, career progression becomes difficult.”

Mark Smith said many businesses undervalued employee happiness and ignored the cost of losing good workers. “[Businesses] don’t understand the opportunity cost by not providing a workplace that has other benefits,” he said.

“People want to belong to an organisation and participate in something more than themselves.”

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