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These are the happiest and unhappiest jobs in Australia

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

Do you love your job?

If the answer if yes, you’re among the lucky 19 per cent of Australians who agree with you.

If the answer is no, at least you’re not alone.

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Happiness at work varies wildly depending on what profession you’re in.

People working in the consulting industry are the most likely to consider themselves “consistently thriving” in the workplace (42.9 per cent), according to a new joint survey from The Wellbeing Lab, University of Melbourne Academic Dr Peggy Kern and the Australian HR Institute.

On the other end of the spectrum, just 8.7 per cent of people in the legal sector consider themselves to be consistently thriving, together with the accounting industry (10.7 per cent), the study of more than 1,000 people found.

The higher up the chain you are, generally the more satisfied you are in your role, with C-suites and directors indicating the highest levels of satisfaction.

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CEOs (40 per cent) were nearly twice as likely to be thriving than their employees, with those in administrative (11 per cent) and customer service and sales positions (10 per cent) notably less happy.

Tradies are also happy in their jobs with a quarter of them consistently thriving and only seven percent claiming to be struggling.

How does my industry stack up?
Image: The Wellbeing Lab
Image: The Wellbeing Lab
What about my position?
Image: The Wellbeing Lab
Image: The Wellbeing Lab

“What surprised us most in The Wellbeing Lab Workplace Survey results were the high percentage of Australian workers (37 per cent) who reported that they were ‘living well, despite struggles’,” Dr Kern said.

“Particularly as we found no statistically significant differences on a number of outcomes, like job satisfaction and performance, between these workers and those who were ‘consistently thriving’.”

Kern suggested there is a resilient portion of the Australian workforce who will never describe themselves as “thriving” due to mental illness, physical illness or other struggles.

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“Workplaces need to be careful that in their drive for improving wellbeing they don’t stigmatise those who are struggling, but instead learn from and better support these resilient workers.”

The study also found that workers in South Australia were the happiest, with 27 per cent considering themselves consistently thriving. Men were also more likely to feel happy at work (23.2 per cent) than women (14.1 per cent).

What’s affecting my happiness?

A number of things. The happiest workers have strong relationships, are engaged and have more autonomy are off to a good start.

“At an individual level, we know that people who have more autonomy in their work are more likely to thrive, especially if they can make use of support options through their team and the organisation,” Australian HR Institute CEO Lyn Goodear added.

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Supportive leaders, resilient teams are also critical, as is carrying out work that the workers considers important or valuable. However, companies can also do more concrete things to improve worker happiness, like providing fruit, fitness opportunities, mental first aid and flu shots.

Workers unhappy in their job are more likely to feel they have less control in how they do they work and work in teams that aren’t supportive of one another.

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