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Swiss like work but not their salaries

Those working in the service industry were found to be the happiest in their jobs Keystone

Swiss employees are generally happy at work, coming third in a Europe-wide survey on job satisfaction.

This content was published on June 7, 2005 - 10:08

A report by global staffing services company Kelly Services found that 53 per cent of Swiss are pleased with their jobs. But 52 per cent feel they are not being paid enough.

The survey of 12 countries places Switzerland, along with neighbouring Italy, in third place. In front are the Scandinavian nations (68 per cent) and France (61 per cent). In fourth place is Germany (50 per cent).

Kelly Services Switzerland said the countries that topped the league were those in which companies supported their employees by providing good child-care facilities and flexible working practices.

As workplace flexibility is not yet so widespread in Switzerland, Kelly Services said there were other reasons for Switzerland’s relatively high job satisfaction.

These included having a varied job and fair boss, as well as having good prospects for promotion and job training.

But in the survey the employees said they were mostly unhappy about promotion and training opportunities provided by their employees. In both cases dissatisfaction stood at 47 per cent.

"Employers are obviously not exploiting enough their workforce’s real potential," said Leif Agnéus, the head of Kelly Services Switzerland.

He added that employees were "ready to take on more work to realise their goals".

Pay problems

One of the Swiss employees’ main complaints, however, was pay – with just over half saying they were dissatisfied. Only 37 per cent said they were happy with their salary, which was about the same as the European average.

The survey also found that the higher the level of education of employees, the less they tended to enjoy work. Satisfaction among those with less education amounted to 59 per cent, compared with 53 per cent among those with some form of higher education and 49 per cent for those with university degrees.

The survey comes after results of the 2002 health survey by the Federal Statistics Office showed that over 40 per cent of Swiss suffered psychological stress at work, with the percentage rising with the level of education.

Experts said one explanation could be that the higher the level of education, the greater the responsibility in the job and the more time spent in the office.

Services satisfaction

But the report also found that lorry drivers were not necessarily happier than bankers. Satisfaction in the transport sector stood at 38 per cent. The most satisfied were those in the banking and services sector at 72 per cent, followed by civil servants at 63 per cent.

Satisfaction among teachers stood at 40 per cent, which could be explained by the increasing pressure on teaching personnel, said experts.

However, the survey also found that job happiness increased with age, with 61 per cent of those over 45 enjoying their work.

The results of the survey come at a time of increasing worry about job security in Switzerland. Supermarket bosses recently warned that jobs could be slashed as a result of German discounters coming into the country.

Kelly Services asked 860 people in Switzerland and 14,000 people across 12 countries about their job satisfaction. Those surveyed were asked, among other things, about job stress, working hours, work-life balance and training opportunities.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

The survey found that in Switzerland:
53% were satisfied with their job.
37% were happy with their salary.
The most satisfied with their job: the services sector at 72%.
The least satisfied: the transport sector at 38%.

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In brief

Kelly Services carried out the survey by internet.

They questioned 14,000 people across 12 countries in Europe.

In Switzerland, 860 people were asked a total of 32 questions about work-life balance, stress, pay and training opportunities.

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