Happiness levels among UK workers rising, ONS survey reveals

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Satisfaction levels are rising and anxiety levels falling among UK employees, an Office of Nationals Statistics (ONS) report has revealed.

The Personal Well-being in the UK report found that in 2012/13 people were more satisfied in life and at work compared to 2011/12.

The survey is carried out to help the Government develop policies to improve people's wellbeing.

This year it revealed people who work flexibly through reduced hours or studying part-time have the greatest sense of personal wellbeing.

In contrast, those whose choices are constrained by illness, disability or perceived inability to get a full-time job have lower than average wellbeing.

Gender differences

The findings revealed on average women have higher life satisfaction, consider their jobs to be more worthwhile and rate their happiness slightly higher than men. However, women's anxiety levels are significantly higher than men.

Between 2011/12 and 2012/13, both men and women reported a small reduction in their levels of anxiety. Additionally, both sexes reported small improvements in life satisfaction, "worthwhile activities" and happiness levels.

Reasons to be cheerful

The ONS said the reason for the small upturn in the nation's wellbeing between 2011/12 and 2012/13 was "not fully understood at this stage".

It said "once in a lifetime" events such as the Diamond Jubilee and Olympic Games may have boosted wellbeing

The UK ranked 10th for life satisfaction out of 27 EU countries, according to the European Quality of Life Survey, with an average rating of 7.3 out of 10 in 2011.

The ONS said the UK's rating was unchanged between 2007 and 2011, showing a "picture of stability" in contrast to a decline in happiness in many other EU countries.

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