Are You Happy With Your Job? New Survey Reveals The Most–And Least–Satisfied Professions

March 26, 2013  |  

Are you satisfied with your job? If you’re not, it can affect your health, happiness, and stress levels found a recent Gallup poll. The 2012 results of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, listed the most—and least—satisfied professions.

Gallup-Healthways asked more than 170,000 workers a series of 55 questions covering physical and emotional health, life evaluation and workplace environment. Using a score between 0 and 100 (ideal well-being) to each of 14 major professional categories.

According to the results, physicians had the highest level of well-being of any major profession, while transportation workers, including drivers, pilots, flight attendants and air traffic controllers, had the lowest. Teachers surprisingly ranked only behind physicians for well-being. Because they tend to be good eaters, their obesity, while too high, is still below the national average, and they have good workplace well-being.

Each question had some impact on the profession’s final well-being score, reports 24/7 Wall St., certain measures highly contribute to workers’ health. Among the factors include regular exercise, not smoking, learning something new every day, and being treated well by their employers.

Dan Witters, research director for the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, explained to 24/7 Wall St. that the professions with high levels of obesity and related conditions like heart attacks and chronic physical pain were more likely to have much lower overall well-being. Just 14 percent of physicians, for example, were considered obese, versus the more than 37 percent of transportation workers.

Those in the most satisfied professions also had health insurance coverage. Nearly all physicians surveyed (97 percent) reported having health insurance (naturally), while only 77 percent of transportation workers had coverage, reports the website. According to Witters, that health insurance, besides making people more likely to receive treatment they need, “has a lot of influence on the proactive nature of which people tend to their health.”

24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 14 professional categories surveyed by the Gallup-Healthway’s Well-Being Index in 2012 and ranked the most and lest satisfied professions.

The top three most satisfied professions

1.   Physician

Job types: Internist, obstetrician, anesthesiologist
Well-being index score: 78.0
Obesity: 86.0%
Percentage (Pct.) with health insurance: 96.7%
Pct. satisfied with job: 95.5%

Physicians were by far the most likely professionals to be described by Gallup as “thriving,” reports 24/7 Wall St. They were also less likely than any other workers to have felt sad or angry in the past day, and the most likely to have the energy needed to be productive. Another aspect that factored into their well being was salary. Physicians are usually well-paid. Primary care physicians earned a median annual salary of more than $200,000, while for those with medical specialties the figure exceeded $350,000, according to the Medical Group Management Association.

2. Teacher
Job types: High school, special education teacher, teacher assistants
Well-being index score: 73.6
Obesity: 79.4%
Pct. with health insurance: 95.7%
Pct. satisfied with job: 91.1%

Nearly 70% of teachers qualifying as “thriving.” According to the data, teachers were also the most likely workers to report they smiled or laughed, experienced enjoyment or experienced happiness within the past day. And teachers also regularly practiced healthy behaviors. Just under 6% smoked, which is actually less than only physicians. And more than 64% ate at least five servings of fruits and vegetables at least four days a week, second only to nurses.  The median pay for “education, training and library occupations” was just over $45,000 in 2010, according to the BLS.

3. Business Owners
Job types: Contractor, store owner, entrepreneur
Well-being index score: 73.4
Obesity: 79.5%
Pct. with health insurance: 77.6%
Pct. satisfied with job: 93.3%

Business owners are more likely than any other class of workers to rate their work environment highly. Over 93% of business owners said they were satisfied with their job or the work they did, higher than any occupation except for physician. Additionally, nearly 89% of business owners reported their work environment was trusting and open — by far the highest of any type of worker. According to the BLS, as of February there were almost 14.5 million self-employed workers, down from nearly 15.9 million five years prior.

Top three least satisfied professions were installation or repair workers like mechanics, linesmen, and maintenance workers, who report health issues like smoking and have a median pay of just under $34,000; workers in manufacturing areas like line workers, who reported unsatisfactory treatment from supervisors and low pay (just under $24,000 in 2010); and those in transportation like bus drivers and flight attendance, many of whom have low pay (some are paid well) and high stress.

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