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Only half are happy in their line of work

Date

Clay Lucas

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ONLY half of Australia's 11.5 million employees believe they are in the right line of work, new research completed for a national career counselling business shows.

And just under half of the nation's workers admit they got into their present career by ''falling into it''.

SEEK Learning, a division of the job search group, helps people going back to retrain decide how and where to study. In November, the company commissioned researchers Pure Profile to interview 1257 Australian adults about their careers.

It found 51 per cent of people believed they were in the right career, while 22 per cent said they were not; the remaining 27 per cent were not sure.

When asked how they had ended up in their career, 41 per cent admitted they had fallen into it. Another 5 per cent said they had followed their parents' advice, while 5 per cent said they had chosen their career because it would earn them a lot of money.

In total, 627 males and 630 females were surveyed as part of the phone research, across all age groups from 18 to those aged over 65.

The research, done in late November, also found that just under a quarter of Australians are planning a career change in 2013.

SEEK Learning general manager Tony Barrett said that although it wasn't that surprising to find so many unhappy in their work, it was increasingly apparent people were more willing to do something about it than had once been the case.

''This really reflects that people are now willing to make changes and ask the question 'Am I happy in this job?' You spend a third to half your waking hours in your job, and that's a lot of time to spend doing something you're not that excited about.''

Money was the biggest motivator for Australians wanting to change jobs, with almost half citing bad pay as a reason for looking elsewhere. Other key reasons included wanting to do something that helps others, long hours in their job, and a bad relationship with their manager.

4 comments so far

  • Happy is a state of mind, the job is there for us to make some money and have a life. Overall, my job is fine, is it perfect? What is perfect? We cannot expect a company/ workplace to make us happy, work is a PART of our life...... If you hate something leave it, it drags you and everyone around you down!

    And don't make excuses, I have a mortgage, I have a family etc etc. NOTHING is stopping you from looking at alternatives. maybe you need to up or re skill......Like a famous coach once said..."Do something"..........

    Commenter
    shemp
    Location
    melb
    Date and time
    January 14, 2013, 11:47AM
    • The results are not surprising yet once money is taken off the table what is it that motivates people? Authors like Daniel Pink (who have reviewed 40+ years of social science research) have found that while money is obviously important it isn't what motivates people. Essentially our organisation's have been built on a model that is now 150 years old which require employees to comply. But that is not how we are intrinsically motivated even in a system brought up on rewards and punishments nor how to enccourage innovation and change in a conceptual world.

      People at work want Autonomy – The desire to direct our lives; Mastery – The urge to get better and better at something that matters and to make progress, plus Purpose – The yearning to do what we do in service of something larger than ourselves. We want to know why we do what we do at work.

      We also have torturous systems of feedback that result in a boss telling you what you have done a year after you have done it. Can you imagine any of our elite sporting stars only getting that feedback once per year.

      Management is essentially a human made technology that is now outdated. I would encourage anyone to follow what they love to do. But for me Organisations need to step up to the plate and re-design the work place to engage and motivate people by tapping into why they do what they do. The cost to organisations and our economy is enormous.

      What is the impact of having 50% of your staff want a different job or even 20% dis-engaged in the workplace?

      This should be a wake up call to managers. My experience is people sack their bosses more than they ever know.

      Commenter
      Drive
      Date and time
      January 14, 2013, 1:16PM
      • Gee, roughly half of the people at work don't really want to be there. Who would've thunk it? This is just another survey telling us the bleeding obvious.

        Commenter
        maxtehcat
        Location
        melb
        Date and time
        January 14, 2013, 4:02PM
        • promotional advertorial press release for/by seek.com posing as news - but that's the way companies get free advertising, right ?

          as for what drives/keeps people in jobs less than ideal - stability, routine, the ability to pay off a mortgage (pretty hard without a steady job), and a sense of purpose and engagement and social interaction - many people hate the job but enjoy interacting with their fellow workers.

          @Drive's notes about autonomy, mastery and purpose are great - but ignore the basis of most jobs - created to help the boss make more money - without which there wouldn't be a job. So it's fairly luxurious to complain about not feeling fulfilled when you're at the beck and call of an employer. In the US it would be 'don't like a job - start your own company' - but that's not the Australian way - most of us are employees, fairly compliant and docile, in conditions and on pay packets most of world only dream about.

          US folk can hardly believe it when they hear wait-staff in our cafes/restaurants get paid $15-25 per hour - over there it would be more like $6-8ph and kiss-up-for-tips. And many US folk work hard in woefully underpaid jobs ($4 an hour?) just so they can have employer-sponsored health insurance - the absence of which is almost a death sentence or guaranteed trip to the poor-house in the US.

          Commenter
          frank
          Location
          sydney
          Date and time
          January 14, 2013, 4:34PM

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