Self-employed people are happiest types of workers, study claims

Self-employed people experience greater levels of professional satisfaction

Olivia Petter
Friday 16 March 2018 14:16 GMT

You work longer hours than most of your friends, you never know where your next paycheck is coming from and there’s no HR team to mollycoddle you when times get tough… it’s safe to say that the life of a self-employed worker is one plagued by instabilities.

However, according to a new survey, self-employed people are happier and more engaged with their jobs than those working in any other profession.

After studying data from 5,000 workers in the UK, US, New Zealand and Australia, a team of British researchers concluded that those who were self-employed in a variety of sectors were also more successful in their careers and felt more satisfied with their professional contributions.

They also reported greater opportunities for innovation.

“Professional workers who are self-employed really value the autonomy they have,” explained co-author professor Peter Warr of the University of Sheffield.

“They have the freedom to innovate, express their own views, have influence beyond their own role and compete with other companies and people.

“They really get to use their own expertise, so don’t seem to mind working long hours. They can find meeting high standards really fulfilling.”

Co-author professor Ilke Inceoglu from the University of Exeter added that self-employed workers typically experience greater career satisfaction because they feel that any rewards they experience are almost entirely down to their individual efforts.

“Being engaged in their jobs makes people feel energised and pleased with their own contribution," she said.

“Measuring how engaged people are in their work is therefore a really useful way to gauge their wellbeing and shows we must move beyond just looking at job satisfaction.”

The study was published in the journal Work, Employment and Society and measured career satisfaction for those working in management consultancy, retail, education, financial services, insurance and real estate.

The findings come shortly after US News released its annual report naming software developer as the "best job" for 2018.

The majority of roles that followed were in medical fields, with dentist, physician assistant and nurse practitioner taking the consecutive top spots.

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