Happiness at work

Happiness at work

Happy Countries, Committed Workers

Steve McGookin


All too often, studies seem to show workers being dissatisfied and fed up.

A Conference Board survey earlier this year, for example, showed that less than half of all Americans say they are satisfied with their jobs, down from 61% 20 years ago. And the numbers were even more striking among the newest entrants to the workforce. Less than 39% of workers under the age of 25 said they are satisfied with their employment situation.

So what makes for a “happy” workforce? Is it necessarily to do just with salary, perks, work environment or prospects for advancement?

Special Report: Corporate Responsibility

If the idea of collective happiness is related simply to growth in reward, shouldn’t we expect places like Sri Lanka, or India–which have seen the steepest rise in global wages this year–to be generally “happier”?

Or are there broader societal reasons why some workers say they”re “happy” and others don”t? And what’s the knock-on effect of that? Can it be measured in factors like the extent of emigration from one country to another, with workers gravitating towards more “happy” countries?

It also seems logical that “happiness” might be cyclical, and related to external events. Perhaps even as simple as the performance of local or national sports teams. A study of Turkish workers published in 2005, for example, indicated that there was a relationship between industrial production performance and the on-field performance of Turkish club Fenerbahce in European competition (for whatever reason, the team’s domestic performance was “not statistically significant”).

Now, research by the Cass Business School in the City of London has identified a link between levels of national “happiness”–and what researchers describe as the “extraversion” of that population–and the level of commitment that employees in that country have to their jobs and their employers.

If you’d like to read more of this interesting article on happiness at work – click here