If you could do a job that was guaranteed to make you happy, would you? There are many different factors involved in the satisfaction that we get from what we do every day. And, ultimately, we’re all pretty individual in terms of what makes us happy and satisfied, or otherwise. However, 2016 UK Cabinet Office research found that there are some jobs that are a recipe for maximum happiness (and some that aren’t). The research was composed of a number of polls and surveys that challenged employees to rate their overall life satisfaction. The results might surprise you.job satisfaction

Top 10 jobs that make people happy



It was a surprise to many to see this profession topping the list of happiest and most satisfying jobs. However, if you think about the reality – no onerous bonus structures, no targets, doing something you really believe in day in day out, perhaps it’s not so hard to see why.

Chief executives and senior officials of companies

A little easier to predict, the happiness levels of top execs provide affirmation that all the hard work it may have taken to get literally to the top is worth it. No doubt the pay and benefits aren’t that bad either.

Managers of agriculture and horticulture

Manager level anything tends to open the door to happiness at a higher level but if you’re working with plants and the land then you’re likely to be happier than most.

Company secretaries

Not the secretary, as such, but the position of company secretary i.e. an officer of the company responsible for making certain filings to Companies House. It’s possible to make a career from being company secretary to numerous different organisations – the hours are good and the pressure low so happiness levels are high.

Quality assurance and regulatory professionals

Setting and maintaining standards and keeping quality levels high makes for job satisfaction on a daily basis. These jobs tend to be well paid and come with a level of respect and perhaps even fun (bed comfort tester anyone?).

Health care practice managers

Slightly surprising to find health care practice managers on the list given the troubles of the NHS in recent years. However, this could be the result of a genuine interest in delivering excellent local healthcare services and helping a whole community.

Medical practitioners

You don’t train for 7 years for fun so people who join the medical profession genuinely love what they do. Doctors in particular are well paid and have lots of options for working in different locations and overseas. Plus, delivering babies, saving lives – plenty to make you happy there.


Self-employed and out in the fresh air, the farmer literally has the Good Life and their happiness levels reflect that.

Hotel and accommodation managers and proprietors

Perhaps it’s being surrounded by people permanently on holiday, or maybe the degree of independence in being an owner or manager of a hotel that makes people feel so satisfied with what they do.

Skilled metal, electrical and electronic trades supervisors

Demand for these trades has gone through the roof in recent years so anyone in this role is going to be busy and well off.

Top 10 jobs that make people unhappy

Of course, if you’re going to examine the Top 10 jobs that make people happy then you can’t really ignore those that don’t. So, ranging from the least popular job of all, to the 10th least popular, here are the professions to avoid:

  1. Plastics producing company operative
  2. Bar staff
  3. Care escorts
  4. Sports and leisure assistants
  5. Telesales
  6. Floorers and wall tilers
  7. Industrial cleaning process occupations
  8. Debt, rent and other cash collectors
  9. Construction workers
  10. Managers of licensed premises


It’s not that difficult to see why these jobs have made the Top 10 least satisfying. From uncomfortable working conditions, to long hours and (literally) backbreaking work some of these roles come with plenty of challenges. Common to most of the jobs in the list is a lack of seniority – they’re mostly entry level roles. With that comes less pay, longer hours and a very limited degree of independence and control. However, that’s not to say that they aren’t ideal for someone  – and we all have to start somewhere.

Ultimately, the jobs that give us the most satisfaction are those that suit us well. So, if you have a passion for telesales but you’re stuck being a company secretary then you’re going to completely confound these lists. To quote Confucius, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

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