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Workers are less anxious, happier, have greater life satisfaction, and feel more worthwhile than those who are unemployed or economically inactive, according to research by the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
As well as providing obvious material benefits; such as income and a pension, employment is also shown to provide psychological benefits; such as a sense of purpose, social status, social interaction, and a daily routine. Compared with last year, employed people reported a small increase in their life satisfaction ratings and reported a fall in their anxiety levels.
Previous research found no difference in life satisfaction between those working full-time or part-time. However, the recent findings show that those working part-time rate their life satisfaction, worthwhile, and happiness slightly higher on average than those working full-time. Anxiety remains low and at identical levels.
According to the research, unemployed people on average rate their life satisfaction significantly lower than their employed counterparts. The average rating for the unemployed is 6.6 out of 10, compared with an average of 7.6 for employed people. Unemployment also leads to greater anxiety; with an average anxiety rating of 3.4 out of 10, compared with 3.0 for workers. The economically inactive population (i.e. students, pensioners, carers, short-term/long-term sick, discouraged workers etc.) reported an average anxiety rate of 3.1 out of 10.
The ‘discouraged worker’ group is comprised of those who reported that their main reason for not seeking work was because they believed there were no jobs available. After the short-term/long-term sick, discouraged workers reported the lowest average life satisfaction level.
Compared with other European countries; the UK ranks 10th out of 27, with an average life satisfaction rate of 7.3 out of 10. Life satisfaction in the UK is high compared with many other countries and has remained at 7.3 since 2007.
The nation ranked most highly is Denmark, followed by Sweden and Finland; with life satisfaction ratings of 8.4, 8.0, and 8.1 respectively. The lowest ratings were reported in Bulgaria and Hungary, with 5.5 and 5.8 respectively. The European Union life satisfaction average is 7.1.
To read the full report, please click here.