Despite the talk of the Great Resignation, most people actually enjoy their jobs

great resignation happyWhile many people may be busy considering their career options as part of the ‘Great Resignation’, a new poll claims that the majority of Brits actually enjoy their jobs. According to data from HR software provider CIPHR around two-thirds (65 percent) of the 1,031 employees polled said they either love or like their current jobs (19 percent and 46 percent respectively). CIPHR took the findings of how people feel about their jobs and grouped people with related job titles together (using the Office for National Statistics’ standard occupational classifications) to compile a list of the UK’s best-loved – and also least-liked – occupations:

Educational support assistant, teaching assistant, and chief executive scoop the top three spots, with around nine in ten job holders in these occupations loving or liking what they do for a living. Proving that salary isn’t always the key to career happiness, the median full-time gross annual salary for educational support assistants is around six times less that of CEOs (£13,359 compared to £81,102).

Being a business or financial project manager came in fourth, while programmers and software developers were fifth on the list.

This is followed by financial managers and directors, security guards (and related occupations), quality assurance and regulatory professionals (including compliance managers and financial regulators), social workers, and engineers. Around one in eight of the 1.1 million people doing these jobs love or like their current career.

Some of the occupations with the largest number of workers in the UK, however, are much further down the list. Only around half (53 percent) of the 1.4 million people working as nurses, care workers or home carers, and 61 percent of the 1.1 million people working as sales and retail assistants, retail cashiers and check-out operators reportedly enjoy (love or like) their jobs.

The top 15 favourite jobs in the UK, sorted by how many people love or like what they do, are:

  1. Educational support assistants, including learning support assistants, non-teaching assistants and special needs assistants: 91 percent
  2. Teaching assistants: 88 percent
  3. Chief executives and senior officials: 87 percent
  4. Business and financial project management professionals: 85 percent
  5. Programmers and software development professionals, including database developers and software engineers: 82 percent
  6. Financial managers and directors: 81 percent
  7. Security guards and related occupations, including CCTV operators, park keepers and private investigators: 80 percent
  8. Quality assurance and regulatory professionals, including compliance managers, financial regulators and quality managers: 80 percent
  9. Social workers: 80 percent
  10. Engineers (excluding software engineers and IT engineers): 77 percent
  11. Information technology and telecommunications directors: 75 percent
  12. IT specialist managers, including data centre managers, IT support managers and service delivery managers: 73 percent
  13. Chefs: 71 percent
  14. Police officers (sergeant and below): 71 percent
  15. IT project and programme managers: 71 percent

Customer service reps and advisers, large goods vehicle drivers, IT user support technicians, and IT operations technicians fared less favourably in the poll, with less than half of the people employed in these occupations saying they either love or like their jobs (48 percent, 40 percent, 40 percent and 33 percent respectively).

Looking at the results more generally, people at the start of their careers seem the most likely to be positive about their work. More than two-thirds (67 percent) of 18- to 24-year-olds reportedly love or like their jobs, compared to just 62 percent of those aged 35 to 44. That figure does rise slightly to 65 percent among workers over 45, perhaps signalling that a higher proportion of mature workers have found a career path they like (rather than one that just pays the bills).

More women apparently enjoy their jobs than men (67 percent compared to 62 percent say they love or like their jobs) while more men say they hate their jobs (4 percent compared to 3 percent). Part-time workers were also more likely to say that they love or like their jobs than their full-time counterparts (67 percent compared to 64 percent).

Higher-salaried roles do seem to equate to better job approval ratings overall, statistically at least. Workers earning over £45,000 are twice as likely to say they love their jobs compared to people earning under that wage (29 percent compared to 14 percent).

On average, most survey respondents have been in their current roles for 6.8 years and the median length of service is five years. Interestingly, people start to feel negatively about their work almost right away. More than 1 in 10 (13 percent) people who started their current jobs in 2021 say they dislike or hate their jobs, which rises to nearly one in four (23 percent) by the four-year mark.

“It’s important to have realistic expectations of your role, which may vary depending on where you are in your career,” says Shirley Bousfield, strategic HR consultant at CIPHR. “While it’s great to aspire to your dream job, the perfect job is very rare. Be prepared to compromise at times but still ensure that most of your needs are met. I generally think being happy in your role 60 percent of the time (three days out of five, on average) is reasonable, so simply changing your mindset can be a big motivator to help you feel happier and more engaged at work. Without necessarily needing to switch jobs.”