Payspective gives us an incredible overview of how people engage with work. We see how people are rewarded for their exertions, but also how they feel about them. Asking for self-reported ‘happiness’ scores is notoriously difficult, but in large enough data (among fairly culturally similar people) we feel they can be used to point to factors that make people happy, or unhappy, at work.

We decided to use our 1500 data points to take a look at whether there were any notable disparities between the Russell Group graduates working in different industries. We saw amazing disparities in the average number of hours worked a week.


Not every paycheck is counted in currency


We looked at which industries had the greatest self-reported levels of happiness at work.  Somewhat surprisingly, Venture Capitalists are 20% happier than the Russell Group mean.

In second and third are Food & Beverages and Travel who were 14% and 12% happier than mean respectively.


I was somewhat shocked to find out that those in Insurance reported that they happier than those working in Startup. Insurers are 11% happier than the mean; conversely, Startup reported happiness 9.5% above average.


At the other end of the scale, those working in Apparel reported that they were 30% under the Russell Group mean for happiness at work. Healthcare, Telecoms and Investment Banking (middle and back offices) do not seem much happier, reporting happiness 24% under the mean value.


Payday blues


Those working in Apparel are least happy with pay; also reporting that they were 30% less happy than the average. Showing equally shocking levels of discontentedness were those employed in Hospitality & Tourism and Healthcare, who were 29% and 25% less happy than the mean respectively.


It is somewhat frightening that Healthcare is among the worst performers both in terms of happiness at work and happiness with compensation. Disengaged employees who are unhappy with their pay are at extremely high risk of attrition. Disengaged employees performing societies’ most important functions…


Working 9 to 5; what a way to make a living


There was also a shocking disparity in terms of hours worked during a ‘normal’ week. People working in Private Equity are the Russell Group’s hardest working, clocking 59 hours a week on average. Lagging behind Private Equity is front office Investment Banking at 56 hours in a normal week. It is frankly unsurprising that those in these two industries sit a long way ahead of the Russell Group mean of 48.5 hours a week. This is hardly shocking news but the degree of difference between the outliers is shocking.

Graduates working in Engineering, Aerospace & Defence and Business & Information Services all clock around 40 hours a week in a normal week. This means that those in Private Equity work for 50% longer than your average engineer.
In fact, across the entirety of our data set, the correlation between hours worked and happiness at work was a positive 0.04. In other words, there was a weak (and essentially insignificant) positive correlation between working more and being happier at work.


– by Adam

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