Work Foundation survey shows that most people find work ‘stimulating and challenging’

More than two-thirds of workers describe their jobs as a source of ‘personal fulfilment’ to them, with just one in 10 branding their job as ‘meaningless’, a survey published today reveals.

A study of 1,000 working people, by the Work Foundation think-tank, found that most people felt their work has improved since the beginning of their working lives. Satisfaction with their work had increased since starting work for 60%, while only a third (31%) were less satisfied than when they started.

Work was found to be ‘stimulating and challenging’ by 78%, and work was a ‘source of personal fulfilment’ for 69%.

Almost 90% disagreed with the statement ‘I regard my work as meaningless’ with only 9% in agreement (the remaining 1% did not express a view).

The survey also confirmed that work remains simply a way of making a living for many people. Half (51%) said their work was ‘a means to an end’. People with lower pay and lower skills tended to be less satisfied with their jobs than the higher skilled and higher paid.

Will Hutton, chief executive of the Work Foundation, said: “Traditionally, work has been seen as purely a grim economic necessity, which there is no getting out of, and little more to be said about. Our survey indicates that that view is no longer a fair reflection of how people feel.

“Today, work is increasingly thought of as a source of fulfilment; an important aspect of life that matters to people in a very personal way.”

Hutton urged employers to think much harder about the jobs they offer.

“The wage packet still matters, but there are crucially important psychological, social, and personal dividends from work, too – it is about money and meaning,” he added.

The survey also found:

  • Women are slightly more likely to be satisfied with their job compared to men.

  • The over-55s are more likely to be satisfied with their job compared to younger workers, especially those aged between 16 and 34.

  • Managers and professionals are more likely to be satisfied compared with other occupational groups.

  • People earning more than £50,000 per year are more likely to be satisfied compared to those who earn less money.

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