Job Satisfaction and How to Keep Yourself out of the 38%

Stonebridge recently commissioned some in depth research into how age, location and profession affect levels of job satisfaction in the UK. With 38% of the respondents being unsatisfied at work, it’s handy for new graduates to look at the stats below and see how they can avoid being in this rather large proportion of unhappy workers! 

Location and Job Satisfaction

42% of respondents in East Anglia and Wales reported being unhappy at work making them the least satisfied workers in the UK, closely followed by the South and North East. People in East Anglia were frustrated by lack of career progression (39%), not being interested in their work and not being in a career they would have ideally chosen (22% each). 

In stark contrast, 62% of respondents in the South West were happy with their jobs followed by Scotland and Northern Ireland on 35%. London was above average with 58% reporting good job satisfaction, however the stats show London may not be the be all and end all despite the range of opportunities and vast number of big businesses based there. 

Age and Job Satisfaction

Us lucky, young graduates fall into the bracket with the highest rate of job satisfaction, with 64% of 18-24 year olds reporting being happy with their jobs. Those aged 35-44 had the lowest happiness with only 52% reporting good job satisfaction, however, this increases again in subsequent age brackets with 59% of those over 55 being happy at work. It’s worth bearing in mind that as a graduate you might find job satisfaction dips over the years, but remember that this is likely to improve with age and experience!  

For the 18-24 year olds who were not happy at work, the main cause was a lack of room for progression. This is an important consideration when researching job roles and is something to grill potential employers about at interview. 

The other main reasons for lack of job satisfaction were: not being challenged enough, not being in a career they would have ideally chosen, not being interested in what they are doing and not feeling like they ‘make a difference’. You can help safeguard yourself against these things when looking into any new role you plan to take on. Choose your role and the company carefully!

Of those aged 18-24, only 46% of people were willing to up-skill, perhaps because this is the age group most satisfied at work and being fresh out of education, more learning might seem unappealing. However, as soon as people hit the 25-34 age bracket this goes up to a whopping 83%, so whilst you might want to coast along and earn some cash for a few years now, make sure you’re with a company who can offer you training once you’ve settled in and feel ready for a new challenge. 

Profession and Job Satisfaction

73% of self-employed people reported being happy at work, the happiest group by far, followed by retail managers and carers. Apprentices, sales, support or customer service staff were the least satisfied. However, those with a skilled trade or craft had quite good job satisfaction (63%), so choosing an apprenticeship may not be the most fun thing you’ve ever done, but it may pay off in the long run once you’ve learnt your trade. If you have ambitions for going it alone and being self-employed, it’s worth keeping in mind that all the hard work may actually be a risk worth taking and result in feeling a greater sense of job satisfaction, which makes sense when you’ve built a business yourself!


So, it sounds like we should all move to the South West of England, become self-employed and try to stay 18-24 years old forever, or maybe this sounds like your worst nightmare? Not to worry if this is the case because obviously this scenario wouldn’t suit everyone! However, the reasons people cited for being unhappy at work gives you some idea of how to plan for long-term job satisfaction. Being in your chosen industry in a company that offers potential for career progression, training and builds your skill set will certainly help keep you in the happy 56%.

Posted by George Blair on July 6th 2014

Want to comment on this?

Loading... Updating page...