What is the key to happiness at work?

Something for the Weekend: There are not many things more integral to a benefits professional’s job than understanding what makes people happy at work; so the latest research from CIPHR makes interesting reading.

The software provider’s poll of more than 1,000 employees uncovered some unexpected patterns in which roles they enjoy.

Educational support assistants get the most joy from work, according to the survey, with 91% saying they like or love their job. And the very-closely-related position of teaching assistant came in second at 88%, suggesting classroom-based duties are the most rewarding.

So it is surprising that just 61% of teachers themselves feel the same passion for their role. It seems seniority is little indication of career happiness.

Salary doesn’t appear to play a major part in sparking love affairs between employees and their tasks either. For example, two-thirds of sales and retail assistants, who earn a median salary of just £11,313 per year, say they love or like the job, compared with little over half of sales supervisors on an average of £20,875.

It is a similar story in a profession closer to home. While 64% of HR managers and directors feel passion for their work, this is broadly in line with the 63% of HR and industrial relations officers expressing job love, despite the more senior group being on an extra £18,046 a year on average.

Bad feeling towards a job can grow over time. Although 13% of respondents who started their current job last year already dislike or hate it, this rises to 23% among those who have been in position for four years.

So what are the lessons for benefit professionals? First, a promotion won’t necessarily make you happier, although it is likely to make you wealthier.

But more importantly, keeping employees engaged in their roles takes a lot more than a pay rise or status upgrade. As all Employee Benefits readers know, a good perks strategy understands the individual and offers them help with the myriad issues they are facing in and out of work.