HR among the happiest professions

Corporate culture and chance to advance beat out financial rewards
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|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 04/04/2007

It really is better at the top. Chief executive officers and company presidents are the most satisfied in their jobs, according to a new study by online job board Workopolis. However, teachers and HR professionals follow closely in second and third place.

Workopolis asked nearly 9,000 Canadians to evaluate job satisfaction of their current position based on 11 factors that contribute to employee satisfaction, such as corporate culture, the opportunity to learn and financial rewards.

"Job satisfaction is the holy grail of the workplace," said Patrick Sullivan, president of Workopolis. "Every employee wants to find it and every employer wants to provide it. This research really dug beyond the surface of what people say to uncover what truly motivates them and makes them happy – or unhappy – at work."

Understanding job satisfaction

According to the survey, the top three drivers of job satisfaction were: corporate culture, the opportunity to use skills and the opportunity to learn. Financial rewards, flexible work hours and stress level were the bottom three drivers.

"Canadians have made it clear that money really isn't everything," said Sullivan. "We're seeing a strong shift in priorities on the job. Factors like learning and development, creativity and corporate culture have become true indicators of job satisfaction for today's working Canadians."

The Workopolis Top 20 Jobs found that corporate culture was nearly twice as important to job satisfaction as flexibility in work hours, and three times as important as maintaining manageable stress levels. The ability to be creative and the opportunity for advancement are less important to the 18 to 24 age group than to those in the 25 to 34 and the 35 and over age groups.

Making a change

Despite the new definition of job satisfaction, the number one desired change respondents reported is improved financial rewards and benefits. The desire for more money beat out the next most popular answer, the opportunity for advancement, by a margin of 24 per cent.

Financial considerations are even more important to satisfying the younger crowd, with 41 per cent of those 18 to 24 indicating they wanted this to change the most.

While CEO's and teachers finished in a close race, the top two professions differ greatly when revealing their desired changes at work:

Nearly one quarter (23 per cent) of CEOs indicated a need for more work/life balance, while 42 per cent of teachers wanted more money.

Don't take that away

The number one quality that people would miss about their current job is flexibility in work hours. This is especially true in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, with more than one-third (37 per cent) of respondents giving this response. This was also the most popular sentiment among employees in the 18 to 24 age group (36 per cent).

"To maintain job satisfaction, it's important to assess how well your current job stacks up to the values you treasure most," added Sullivan.

"While a new company car might be an essential motivator for some, others may crave the ability to be creative or be autonomous. Keeping your options open to new opportunities can be a motivator to someone who has found themselves in a bit of a rut."

RankJobKey Satisfaction Drivers
1CEO/CFO/PresidentCorporate culture and opportunity to learn
2Teacher/TutorWork-life balance and corporate culture
3HR ProfessionalCorporate culture and opportunity to use skills
4Actor/DirectorOpportunity to learn and ability to be creative
5NutritionistStress level and opportunity to contribute to community
6Career Counsellor/TrainerCorporate culture and opportunity to learn
7ChefAbility to be creative and work-life balance
8Mental Health Counsellor/Social WorkerCorporate culture and work-life balance
9Graphic DesignerOpportunity to use skills and opportunity for advancement
10Market Researcher/AnalystCorporate culture and opportunity to use skills
11Public Relations/Communications SpecialistOpportunity to use skills and ability to be creative
12Writer/JournalistOpportunity to use skills and corporate culture
13NurseCorporate culture and opportunity for Advancement
14Computer ProgrammerAbility to be creative and corporate culture
15Bar/Restaurant/Hotel ManagerOpportunity to use skills and financial rewards and benefits
16Web Designer/DeveloperCorporate culture and opportunity to use skills
17Product ManagerCorporate culture and financial rewards and benefits
18Construction TradespersonOpportunity for advancement and work-life balance
19Medical/Biological ResearcherFlexibility in work hours and ability to be creative
20EngineerOpportunity to learn and ability to be creative

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