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Study: Self-employed workers are the happiest with their jobs

What’s the answer to ultimate job satisfaction? A new study has found that self-employed workers are more engaged and happier in their jobs despite the relative instability that can come with it.

Self-employment has many benefits including having more control over your work environment and schedule, but it is also a route filled with insecurities.

Yet, a new study conducted by researchers from the University of Exeter and the University of  Sheffield discovered that even with long hours and uncertainty, self-employed workers enjoy what they do and are happier overall.

The researchers collected data on more than 5,000 participants from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand who were employed a broad range of jobs.  

Participants from traditional working environments and those who were self-employed both took part in the study and answered questionnaire surveys that focused on six different components of workplace satisfaction and happiness.

The survey focused on questions relating to personal agency, how much responsibility an employee had, if they felt their job allowed them opportunities to express their views, and if their work had influence outside of the job itself.

The researchers grouped certain jobs in different categories if they fit into one of four job grades which were non-managerial workers, supervisors, middle managers, and senior managers and directors.

The results, published in the journal Work, Employment, and Society, showed that self-employed workers reported the highest amount of satisfaction and engagement with their jobs.

According to the study, self-employment creates unique opportunities for innovation and for workers to take on more challenging projects.

The jobs that came with the least amount of engagement or satisfaction were non-managerial company positions.

“Professional workers who are self-employed really value the autonomy they have,” said Peter Warr, a co-author of the study. “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.”

By Kay Vandette, Staff Writer

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