The Australian industries with the happiest, and unhappiest, workers

A boy in the animal nursery at the Royal Melbourne Show. Scott Barbour/Getty Images

The latest research into job satisfaction in Australia shows that the industry you work in makes a difference.

A study by Curtin University for mwah (Making Work Absolutely Human), a startup that guides both employers and employees, goes in search of Australia’s happiest workers.

The research found that the type of industry where you work is likely to play a role in overall job satisfaction, as this chart shows:

Source: Curtin University

Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing and Arts and Recreation Services have the highest proportion (38%) of workers who are “very satisfied” with their job.

Anecdotally, people working on the land report close community ties as a major advantage.

The study spoke to a 54-year-old former pilot who returned to the farm where he grew up.

“No two days are the same here: whether it’s crop trials, animal husbandry or marketing and promotion, there’s never a dull moment,” he says.

“What I love most about my work … it would be making a contribution to society by producing food and looking after the environment.”

The second most satisfied workers (37%) are those in “other services”, which includes a range of personal services, religious, civic and interest group services.

The unhappy employees are to be found in the service industry, including many part-time workers in hotels, takeaway food, bars and cafes. The Accommodation and Food Services sector has the highest proportion (26%) reporting being “dissatisfied’ or “not so satisfied”.

The research — Happy Workers, How Satisfied are Australians at Work — used the latest data from the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey.