IT specialists trail in happiness stakes

IT specialists are not a terribly contented lot compared to hairdressers and chefs, according to the City & Guilds Happiness Index

If information technology is your chosen vocation, think again; you might be a lot happier if you switched profession and took up hairdressing, plumbing, cooking or even selling flowers.

Only one in seven IT specialists rate themselves as 'very happy' in their work, compared to one in three in hairdressers, plumbers and chefs, and one in four florists. The findings are revealed in a new City & Guilds 'Happiness Index', based on a survey of 1,054 employees both in academic professions and in vocational occupations. Overall, IT workers came in at number 19 in the happiness index.

Chris Humphries, director general at City & Guilds, said: "It's a misconception that white-collar professionals have the best jobs and are therefore the happiest. As our research proves, it's often people in vocational careers that are the most content and fulfilled."

Helping other people pays off in the happiness stakes, says City & Guilds, as topping the poll of contented occupations are the country's care assistants (40 percent are 'very happy'). City & Guilds does not delve into the reasons why IT specialists, many of whose jobs are commonly perceived to exist to help others in an organisation, score such a relatively low happiness index.

Practical work is also rewarded with happiness, boosting the position of florists and plumbers in the ranking. Again, IT specialists do not appear to fall into City & Guilds definition as hands-on workers. For those who do fall into this category, many cite appreciation as a distinct bonus with 65 per cent of vocational workers claiming they feel valued.

Learning new things (62 percent), being your own boss, (61 percent), not being chained to a desk (59 percent) and fulfilling an ambition (52 percent) also cause career celebration. But, the biggest factor in making workers happy has still not changed.

"There is an increasing trend for people to swap careers to do something more hands on," said Humphries. "A lot of employees are starting to realise that job satisfaction is more important than any other consideration, including money. You spend such a lot of time at work, it's vital to enjoy what you do."