IT pros unhappy at work

Despite being paid more than many other jobs, information and communication technology (ICT) professionals have a low job satisfaction rating, according to research by the University of Bath.

The standings, based on a Department of Trade and Industry survey of 22,500 British workers, found that teachers and managers were near the top of the 81 occupations in the table, while IT pros are stuck in 66th place.

"These findings suggest that teaching professionals are now close to the top of the UK's job satisfaction while others, such as ICT, languish near the bottom," said the University of Bath's Professor Michael Rose from the University of Bath, who carried out the research.

According to the survey, one in 10 ICT professionals earned over 45,000 annually - well above the 40,000 mark which usually signals high job satisfaction.

"Individual job satisfaction is made up of a range of factors including material rewards, such as pay and conditions of employment, and symbolic rewards, such as prestige," said Rose, adding that the most important factor in ensuring job satisfaction is whether managers create a sense of involvement for their employees. "It is also influenced by psychological rewards, such as being able to express creativity, and social rewards, such as having a supportive colleague network," he added.

"ICT professionals emerge from the survey less satisfied with involvement, sense of achievement, job security and training provided," said Rose.

The study ranked corporate managers and senior officials at the top of the table, followed by hairdressers and beauty therapists. Teachers jumped from 55th the last time the study was completed in 1999 to 11th this year. Journalists were in 50th place.

Occupations traditionally dominated by women, such as records clerks, household services, childcare, secretarial services and leisure and travel services all fell in the standings, confirming a long-term trend toward lower job satisfaction among women, Rose said.

"Improving job satisfaction across occupations is complex, but could be done," said Rose. "Reducing the deficits that reduce job satisfaction in occupational groups could have benefits for subjective wellbeing - which impacts on health, productivity and social good."