Most Kiwis happy with their jobs, survey shows

By Steve Deane, Morgan Tait

Alistair Bingle says the demands of running his business means he has no social life. Photo / Natalie Slade
Alistair Bingle says the demands of running his business means he has no social life. Photo / Natalie Slade

Kiwis are generally satisfied with their lot at work, but finding the right work/life balance is harder for employers and the self-employed, a survey has found.

Statistics New Zealand's Survey of Working Life found that 85 per cent of all employed people were "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with their main jobs. Just one in 20 people was "dissatisfied" or "very dissatisfied".

"Self-employed people and employers tended to be more satisfied with their jobs than employees in temporary work," industry and labour statistics manager Diane Ramsay said. "However, we found a different picture in satisfaction with work-life balance. Temporary employees showed the highest levels of satisfaction and employers the lowest."

One quarter of the workforce (25.6 per cent) reported working more than 45 hours a week. Employers were the most likely to work more than 60 hours per week, and to find work stressful.

Around one in five (18.2 per cent) workers reported feeling stressed. The figure was highest for employers (27.7 per cent) and lowest for the self-employed (14.5 per cent).

Permanent employees were asked how likely they thought they were to lose their jobs in the next 12 months - 17 per cent said they thought there was a "medium", "high", or "almost certain" chance it might happen. Nearly 80 per cent thought there was a low or no chance they would lose their jobs. Men were more likely to be employers or self-employed, while women made up most of the temporary workforce.

The Survey of Working Life provides official statistics about people's work arrangements, working conditions, and job satisfaction.

The results are based on a representative sample of 14,500 employed New Zealanders.

Satisfying, yes, but little time for living

Alistair Bingle started his North Shore gourmet takeaway business the Flaming Onion a year ago.

Business is good, he loves the work, and he enjoys being his own boss. But he has no life.
"I put out good food to the community, I get good feedback and I do have job satisfaction for that," Mr Bingle said. "But at the end of the day I work six days a week and I don't really have a social life."

He's 33, single, doesn't have any family responsibilities and does not expect that to change any time soon. "I'm probably not going to have [a family] either if I keep going like this."

Before the Flaming Onion he worked as a chef in Auckland and overseas. He didn't have the same job satisfaction, but didn't have the hassles and stresses either.

"When you are working for someone else it is always their way, but as soon as you leave work you switch off. With the business there is always something else to do. You never really escape it."

He's been busier this winter than last winter. If that continues he will look to hire someone one day a week to spell him in the kitchen. But then he'll worry about whether they are producing food to the same standard.

Samuel Hindson, 24, a trading executive for Dynamo Media, works between 40 and 50 hours a week. His job can be stressful, but its variety and the supportive and professional environment outweigh that.

"You're doing different things every day and you get sent on training courses that will help your career," he said.

Mr Hindson, who has a bachelor of commerce from Victoria University, said the company's emphasis on team building created a fun and rewarding work environment.

Job satisfaction

• 85 per cent of workers were satisfied or very satisfied with their jobs.

• Job satisfaction was higher with employers or self-employed people but employees were happier with their work/life balance.

• 4.7 per cent were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their jobs.

• 18 per cent always, or often, felt stressed at work.

• 10 per cent had experienced discrimination, harassment or bullying at work during the last 12 months.

• 17 per cent of permanent employees thought there was a reasonable chance they would lose their jobs over the next 12 months.

• 36 per cent of employees who started their jobs over the last 12 months began on a 90-day trial.

- NZ Herald

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