08/16/2006

Job satisfaction key to happiness, EU study reveals

Europe's labour market is in a state of flux, with workers feeling strained by
tighter deadlines and increasing workloads. Ageing populations are likely to
add to the stress, and even stress-related health problems. But job
satisfaction, says the EU-funded Epicurus study, is the key to contentment.

The Greek philosopher Epicurus famously wrote to Menoceus that "... we must
meditate on what brings happiness, since if we have that, we have everything.
And if we have not, all our energies are directed at gaining it." He would be
surprised to learn that, contrary to expectations, Europeans are happiest when
they are satisfied at work, followed by satisfaction with their family lives
and their time spent on leisure pursuits.

These were the unusual findings of the three-year pan-European study of
societal and economic effects on quality of life and well-being, carried out by
EU-funded researchers in the project named after the philosopher. Several UK
newspapers, including the The Daily Mail and The Times, picked up on this
unexpected turn.

"Career fulfilment provides workers with the means to maintain life
satisfaction, according to our results," lead researcher Ioannis Theodossiou of
the Centre for European Labour Market Research (UK) is quoted in the Scottish
daily The Scotsman as saying. This comes as sobering news, as evidence comes to
light of an alarming rise in stress-related illnesses among employees working
in high-pressure jobs with tight deadlines. And yet the labour market is
demanding more flexibility, mobility and versatility from European citizens, as
it restructures itself to meet shifting socio-economic realities.

"The effects of socio-economic status and working patterns on individuals'
quality of life and well-being is an issue of policy concern and deserves
attention," note the researchers in their key findings based on the studies in
Britain, Denmark, France, Greece, the Netherlands and Spain.

More information


AplusA-online.de - Source: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work