Wednesday, June 19, 2024

What are the most meaningless jobs? | YouGov

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Overall, one third of Britons say their job is not making a meaningful contribution to the world

In 2015, a YouGov study found that 37% felt that their job “is not making a meaningful contribution to the world”.

Nine years later, a repeat of that study shows that this figure has since fallen fractionally, to one in three (33%). Most Britons (56%) do feel their job makes a meaningful contribution to the world.

This latest study is conducted with a much larger sample – 5,889 working Britons – allowing us to break the results down by industry to see in which fields the public believe their work has meaning and find their jobs fulfilling.

Those who work in ‘medical and health services’ are the most likely to feel that their job makes a meaningful contribution to the world, at 80%, shortly followed by those in education, at 77%. Only 13% and 16% in these industries respectively feel that their jobs are meaningless.

At the other end of the scale, those who work in retail and financial services are the most likely to say their jobs don’t make a meaningful contribution, at 53% in both cases. Those working in ‘hospitality and leisure’ are similarly disenchanted, at 50%.

Only around a third (33-37%) of those in these occupations feel their jobs are making a meaningful difference to the world.

In which industries are Britons most likely to feel fulfilled in their job?

More than two thirds of workers (69%) say they find their job fulfilling, compared to 29% who find them unfulfilling.

At the industry level, we can see that at least half of Britons across all industries find their jobs fulfilling. Those working in the least fulfilling industries – retail, financial services, and hospitality and leisure – all tend to be fulfilled in their jobs, at 55-62%.

In fact, it is the field of ‘transportation and distribution’ that has the least fulfilled workers – while 51% say they find their jobs fulfilling, this is almost matched by the 48% who find them unfulfilling.

Unsurprisingly, medical and education workers are once again at the top of the table in terms of job fulfilment, with 79% and 80% respectively finding their jobs fulfilling.

Combining the results of the two questions shows that overall, 49% of British workers say that their job is both personally fulfilling and making a meaningful difference to the world. Another 14% find their job fulfilling, but don’t think it makes a difference, while 7% thinks it does make a difference, but isn’t personally fulfilling to them. One in five (19%) say that their job is neither meaningful, nor bringing them fulfilment.

In which industries are workers most proud of their jobs?

While 33% don’t think their jobs are meaningful, few are actually embarrassed by them. Only 5% say they would feel embarrassed to tell people what they did for a living, compared to 53% who would be proud.

Retail workers are the most likely to be embarrassed by their occupation, at 11%, along with hospitality and leisure workers at 9%.

Again, medical and education workers are the most likely to be proud of their jobs, at 68% and 65% respectively.

How many Britons are considering changing their job?

With so many unfulfilled at work, it may be no surprise that a quarter of Britons seem to be considering changing their job. One in eleven (9%) describe themselves as “very likely” to change jobs in the next 12 months, with a further 16% saying they are “fairly likely”.

The more unfulfilling Britons find their job, the more likely they are to think they will change it – while only 10% of those who are very fulfilled in their work say they are likely to change jobs in the next year, this rises to 37% of workers for say their job is “not very fulfilling” and 52% among those whose jobs are “not at all” fulfilling.

Among those who consider their jobs meaningless, 36% say they are likely to change jobs in the next year.

See the full results here

Photo: Getty

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