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Employed Kiwis happier – but it has to be the right job

Jun 19th, 2015 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

Graph editJOBS make Kiwis happy, but it has to be the right job.

The fourth annual survey about the wellbeing of New Zealanders show those with jobs are more satisfied and have more purpose in life than those without.

In the Statistics New Zealand survey just over 7 in 10 (70.5 percent) of those unemployed rated their overall life satisfaction highly (7-10 on a 0-10 scale) and just under three quarters (73.1 percent) of those unemployed rated their sense of purpose highly using the same scale.

In comparison, over 8 in 10 employed people (84.4 percent) say they are highly satisfied with their lives, and nearly 9 in 10 (89 percent) rated their sense of purpose at 7 or above.

The survey of the 8795 respondents focused on two parts of personal wellbeing – overall life satisfaction and sense of purpose.

Michael SpeightsPeople spoken to by Newswire agree that employment is important to well-being, but happiness has more to do with liking your job than just having one.

Michael Speights (29), left, says though he is not currently employed, employment has a “massive say” in how happy someone is and that it is dependent on why someone is working a particular job.

“I think people find out very quickly that they need to do things that they like, and I think that’s what may bring self-purpose.”Michael Valli

Photography business owner Michael Valli (30), right, thinks life satisfaction and sense of purpose is “extremely” affected by employment.

“It affects it in a large way. It’s my driving force. If I don’t work, I don’t earn, I don’t support my family.”

Student and retail worker Hannah Symonds (20), left, says employment can affect someone’s sense of purpose: “If you Hannah Symondsfeel like you’re not doing well at work it feels like you’re kind of failing.”

Retiree Judith Brennan (78) says employment is vital in having a sense of purpose: “It’s important to be employed otherwise they just don’t really get around to doing anything.”

Café Owner Simon Edmonds (52) says his job makes him happy: “I think I feel good about my sense of purpose, providing something that enriches people’s lives, and really trying to minimise my impact on the environment.”

Engineer Jordan Glasby (28) thinks whether a job is enjoyed or not reflects on overall life satisfaction: “It’s kind of what it’s all about. If you’re not enjoying what you’re doing you’re just not a happy person.”

The New Zealand General Social Survey also found people aged 65 and over were more likely to be satisfied with their lives than younger age groups, with 85.9 percent rating their overall life satisfaction highly and 89.8 percent rating their sense of purpose highly.

Statistics New Zealand says financial security and a better work/life balance may be the reasons for the age factor.

Sole parents have lower sense of purpose and overall life satisfaction than other family types, with just over two-thirds of those in sole-parent families (69.6 percent) rating their overall life satisfaction at 7 or above.

In comparison, Statistics New Zealand says those living in couple family types, with or without children, had the highest self-rated well-being of all family types. Between 85.2 and 90.2 percent of people in these two groups reported overall life satisfaction and sense of purpose at 7 or above.

According to the survey, Māori and Pacific people are less likely to rate their well-being at 7 or above.

Just over three-quarters of Māori (77.8 percent) rated their overall life satisfaction highly, and 83.6 percent rated their sense of purpose highly.

Almost 8 in 10 Pacific people (78.1 percent) rated their overall life satisfaction highly, and 81.7 percent rated their sense of purpose highly.

People with no qualifications have a lower self-rated well-being with just over three quarters (76.8 percent) rating their overall life satisfaction over 7, and 81.8 percent rating their sense of purpose over 7.

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is a journalism student at Whitireia.
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