Finance Work Older workers happiest at work and money less important, Australian study finds

Older workers happiest at work and money less important, Australian study finds

Work satisfaction
Graeme MacArthur loves his work in real estate, tourism and agriculture. Photo: ABC
Twitter Facebook Reddit Pinterest Email

Love, not money, is the key to feeling satisfied at work, a study of 17,000 Australian workers suggests.

Researchers from Curtin University in Western Australia surveyed workers from every age group, state and territory to examine the key to job satisfaction.

Their report found that workers aged 70 or older were three times more likely to be happy at work than their younger colleagues, and workers in remote areas were 10 per cent more likely to be satisfied than their city counterparts.

Workers who claimed to be very satisfied with their jobs overall earned a lower amount on average each week than their less-satisfied counterparts.

Report author Rebecca Cassells said workers who remained employed beyond the age of 70 were likely to do so out of desire rather than necessity.

“We know that people working beyond the age of 65 and beyond pension age, and definitely into their 70s, are probably doing so not out of necessity but out of love for the job and love for the work that they’re doing,” Associate Professor Cassells said.

In comparison, Generation Y participants between the ages of 23 and 37 recorded the lowest level of job satisfaction, with only 24 per cent of respondents indicating they were very satisfied.

Tasmanians, those who work outdoors happier Results also varied across the country, with Tasmania leading the nation in several key satisfaction indicators, followed by the ACT and Northern Territory.

West Australians worked the most full-time hours, recording an average of 46 hours a week, but ranked equal last for job satisfaction alongside Victoria.

Associate Professor Cassells said researchers also found higher levels of job satisfaction among workers employed in industries involving outdoor work.

“Those in the agriculture and fishing industry were more likely to report higher levels of job satisfaction [and], at the other end of the spectrum, those working in hospitality industry were more likely to report lower levels of job satisfaction,” she said.

‘Blob in a mob’ in the city Businessman Graeme Macarthur is a licensed real estate agent, runs a tourism business and owns a mango orchard with his wife.

construction workers
Those who work outside are happier with their jobs, the survey found. Photo: ABC

Mr Macarthur, 70, works six days a week from his office in Broome on the remote coast of northern WA.

“If you don’t enjoy [your work] you won’t do it properly,” he said.

“In my 20s I was galloping around on a horse chasing cattle all over the place. You didn’t get much money but that was beside the point, we still enjoyed our work. They were good days.”

Completing his real estate certificate as a 70-year-old, Mr Macarthur recently cut down on his working hours but is still enjoying work too much to give it up.

He said living outside a major city contributed a happier working life. “You get known as an individual in the community whereas in the city you’re just a blob in a mob,” he said.

View Comments