The relationship between salary and happiness is not as strong as expected according to analysis released today by global specialist recruitment company, Michael Page.
The analysis, which looked at average salaries and life satisfaction ratings for 35-50-year-olds from the Cabinet Office’s Wellbeing and Policy Report, revealed a group of ‘happy outliers’ – people on low salaries who are happier than others who earn significantly more.
- Fitness instructors, who take home an average of £10,378 per year, are actually happier than lawyers who earn an average of £75,399.
- Dental nurses, who earn an average of £15,024, were found to be happier than dentists who make an average of £53,567.
- School secretaries are actually happier than actuaries, even though they earn an average of £15,614 and £61,584 per year respectively.
The survey also revealed that the clergy is the happiest outlying sector, followed closely by secretarial, education, agriculture, and administration.
An interactive visualisation of this data can be found in ‘Salary vs. Happiness,’ which plots the salary and happiness of more than 260 occupations.
|Job Title||Sector||Average Salary, £||Happiness score||Happiness Percentile Rank||Salary Percentile Rank||Gap|
|Sports coaches, instructors & officials||Sports||11762||7.507||0.74||0.07||0.67|
Happiest Outlying Sectors
|Rank||Sector||Weighted Average Salary||Weighed Happiness Score||Happiness Percentile Rank||Salary Percentile Rank||Gap|
About the data and calculations
Salary data is from the 2013 Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, and ‘happiness’ is the mean life satisfaction rating (a score out of 10) taken from the Annual Population Survey 2011-2013. Life satisfaction ratings are grouped as follows: 0 to 4, (low); 5 to 6, (medium); 7 to 8, (high); 9 to 10, (very high).
Happy outliers were determined by comparing the percentile ranks of both salary and happiness for each occupation. Those with the greatest differences in these two ranks (high on happiness, but low on salary) were considered outliers.
The happiest outlying sectors were calculated in a similar fashion to the happy outliers, but average happiness and average salaries were weighted by the number of people employed in each sector.