HR moves up happiness league table but still lags behind soldiers and accountants

Soldiers, beauty therapists and even accountants are happier at work than HR professionals, a poll has revealed.

But HR did manage to move up from 17th in last year’s City & Guild’s Happiness Index to a lofty 13th out of 20 this year.

This placed people managers equally as displeased with their chosen career as journalists and mechancics. Crucially, however, HR professionals are happier than IT workers.

The report by qualifications body City & Guilds found that despite the credit crunch, pay is still not the most important factor in workers’ job satisfaction.

Almost six in 10 people stayed with their present employer because of a strong interest in what they were doing for a living – while only 44% remained due to their salaries.

Good relationships with co-workers, and a healthy work-life balance, were also appreciated by employees more than pay.

Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at Lancaster University, said: “The City & Guilds Happiness Index provides a call to action for the business community to rethink its reward and recognition strategies, and consider employees’ needs on an individual basis.

“It marks the end of an era for organisation-wide HR policies. From now on a flexible approach is needed if businesses are to create a happy, and by association productive, workforce.”

The UK’s happiest worker would be a female beauty therapist in her 60s working in the North East. The unhappiest would be a man in his 40s working as a builder in Northern Ireland.

Last year the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development was moved to insist that despite the findings, the profession was happy with itself. It declined to comment on this year’s results.

Top 5 happiest professions

1 Beauty therapists

2= Hairdressers and Armed Forces

4 Catering/chefs

5 Retail staff

Where HR comes in happiness stakes

13= Journalists, mechanics/automotive and HR

16 Call centre staff

17= IT specialists, nurses, bankers/finance, builders/construction

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