Employment: Can't Get No Job Satisfaction?

Article excerpt

Byline: LOUISE GRAY

JOB satisfaction is about more than the size of a pay packet - it is about interaction with others, challenging work and making a difference to other people's lives.

In fact four in 10 employees would gladly take a pay cut for a new job that was more rewarding in other ways, according to recent figures.

Are they mad? Or is the average 21st century worker more concerned about their health and happiness than a prestigious career?

Research carried out for Community Care magazine revealed that more and more people are unhappy with just making money.

Despite earning good salaries, 39 per cent of workers questioned said they would rather be doing something with greater job satisfaction.

Polly Neate, editor of the magazine, which is aimed at care professionals, thinks the survey signals a change of priorities in the job market - from money to self-fulfilment.

'Only a very small amount of people earn mega bucks and for the rest of us it is more important to do something more satisfying.'

Neate believes this change in attitude is all part of growing up.

'You get to a certain point in your career when you have cleared your student debt and money just isn't important any more.'

She also believes the shift in mood is more common in the younger generation.

'The younger generation are more interested in being happy, they are not seduced by the 1980s ideal of acquisition. They realise how shallow it is.'

So what could this new generation possibly want instead of money?

Among the 160 workers questioned, 54 per cent said making a difference to people's lives was as important as their pay packet, while 56 per cent said flexible working conditions were important.

The research, carried out by Mori, aimed to raise awareness of social work and Neate believes social care can provide the workplace environment workers are searching for.

'Social work is a challenging and rewarding job, which combined with its emphasis on making a positive difference to the lives of vulnerable people in the community, is an attractive proposition.'

A survey for the magazine found 81 per cent of social workers were satisfied with their job. But Neate is careful to point out that while social work can reap significant, psychological rewards, it is not a perfect job.

'Social care is hard work,' she says, 'but it offers better hours and more satisfying and more meaningful work. …