Despite a string of complaints about issues ranging from work hours to benefits, British teachers are the happiest professionals in the country, a new survey shows. More than 80% of the teachers polled said that they loved their jobs compared to 59% of typical British adults.
The poll of 2,000 people also found that secretaries reported the second-highest level of job satisfaction, with many citing workloads and relationships with the boss as the reason why. Ann Haydon, who heads up the Surbiton High School and commissioned the poll, explained that the findings were encouraging in light of the continuing financial difficulties and slow economy that's been plaguing the country since 2008.
Teachers' chief complaints, according to the poll, were the lack of job perks and a slow down in career advancement due to the "bottleneck" in the education sector. Haydon says that such findings contradict the traditional point of view that pay and time off were the chief sources of happiness – or unhappiness – when it came to a choice of career.
Researchers asked workers – including 299 teachers – to rate their level of contentment at work across 11 key areas, from pay and company perks to relationships with colleagues and the boss.
It was discovered workers are most pleased with their level of holiday allowance, and their relationships with colleagues – rating both categories seven out of 10.
But company perks received the lowest score of four out of 10, with employees feeling they could benefit from more entitlements such as mobile phones, laptops and private health care.
Respondents listed several things that employers can do to improve employees' happiness levels. Nearly 15% said that they wish they were allowed regular tea breaks. A more robust 35% wished to have more of an input into their workload.
Ease of commute was rated highly by an almost equal number of people. Eighteen percent admitted that yearly bonuses would also raise the happiness quotient.
The top five happiest professions listed from highest to least were found to be teacher, secretary, engineer, accountant and driver.
The high level of happiness will make it harder for British teachers to argue that they are being grievously misserved by the current Education Secretary Michael Gove. Members of one of the largest teachers unions in the country– the National Union of Teachers – recently called for Gove's resignation at the union's annual conference earlier this month.
NUT members aren't the first ones to call for Gove's head. Members of Britain's other major union representing teachers, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, made similar demands at their conference one week earlier.