Health and safety officers have mid-career life satisfaction

Do you have the best job in the world?

According to some fascinating research from the Cabinet Office, the answer is – it depends.

When 274 jobs were assessed for levels of mid-career life satisfaction, health and safety officers came in comfortably around the middle, at number 150, not far off inspectors of standards and regulations (number 143 in the list).

man_thinkingThat puts health and safety officers well ahead of publicans and managers of licensed premises, who came in last, but some way behind vicars, who topped the list.

The research also shows that high income does not automatically lead to life satisfaction.

Vicars earn on average around £20,500, the lowest average of the top three occupations on the list and lower than those gloomy publicans, who earn around £25,000.

Health and safety officers, by the way, have an average salary of around £33,400.

Of course, the research is not saying that all members of one trade or profession enjoy similar rates of life satisfaction or dissatisfaction – it can only suggest average levels. Nor does it imply direct cause and effect – there may be other factors driving the results.

But, at the very least, it provides some useful information next time your teenage son or daughter says they want to become a web designer (ranked 188), a paramedic (ranked 162) or a landscape gardener (ranked 173).

Perhaps more importantly, does the list suggest a relationship between career satisfaction, occupational injury rates and patterns of occupational disease?

Take elementary construction workers, who come only second to publicans at the bottom of the list for life

Alison Wall, editor of The RoSPA Occupational Safety and Health Bulletin.

Alison Wall, editor of The RoSPA Occupational Safety and Health Bulletin.

satisfaction, below rent collectors (ranked 272) and industrial cleaners (ranked 271).

As we know from HSE figures, the construction sector accounts for around 40 per cent of all occupational cancers

and the third highest rates of workplace injuries.

Yet farmers – working in the UK’s most hazardous occupational sector – came in at number eight in terms of life

satisfaction, one of the highest on this list.

Teasing out potential links between health, safety and wellbeing is not easy, although some researchers are starting to explore this area, as is HSE.

For now, maybe the best response to the list is to focus on your own achievements, and remember why you chose your career in safety in the first place.

Alison Wall, editor of The RoSPA Occupational Safety and Health Bulletin


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