The Telegraph
Tuesday , November 27 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Unhappy nation

JobsCentral has just come out with its list of the happiest jobs in Singapore. The happiest employees were engaged in sectors such as compliance, business development and public relations (PR). The unhappiest were in editorial or translation services. This year, the Work Happiness Index reported its highest level since it was started in 2009.

Last year, PR employees were the unhappiest, so someone seems to have done wonderful PR for PR in a short while. At the other end, journalists are traditionally known to be crotchety. So their unhappiness should be no surprise. If you want another perspective, here are the results of a survey by Fudan University of China.

According to a poll it conducted, 85 per cent of its sample felt a journalist had a painstaking job and 56 per cent said it was a risky profession. At the same time, more than 40 per cent thought it was an enviable career and 30 per cent said it was “glorious”. The view is obviously different from the Chinese side of the Himalayas.

Getting back to the happiest jobs, Forbes has published a list of happiest jobs in America based on a study by online jobs site CareerBliss. Heading the list is the software quality assurance engineer. Executive chef and property manager tie for second spot. Bank teller and warehouse manager come in fourth and fifth. Forbes has a wide gallery of other offerings such as the happiest and the unhappiest cities to work in and the happiest and the unhappiest industries to work for.

So what’s the scene like in India? What profession is the happiest? You don’t have any such list for this country; work happiness is not on any priority watch. A Watson Wyatt study a few years ago found job satisfaction high among Indian workers compared to their Asian peers. An Accenture report earlier this year says that Indian workers are amongst the most dissatisfied in the world. Some 72 per cent of Indian workers were displeased with their lot; Brazil led the list with 74 per cent. (Indian workers seem to have done a quick about turn the way the PR profession in Singapore has managed.)

At the same time, India is considered one of the unhappiest countries in the world. The World Happiness Report (see chart) puts it in the bottom 15, rubbing shoulders with Nigeria and Bangladesh (last). The list was led by Denmark, Finland, Norway, the Netherlands and Canada, in that order. The US was eleventh.

The lists we have in India are Best Companies to Work for or the Highest-paying Jobs. Here is a collection of the latter from, which describes itself as a social watchdog: IT & software professionals, chartered accountants, investment bankers, management professionals, executives in the oil and natural gas sector, medical professionals, consultants, aviation professionals, models and actors, and law professionals. The site has deliberately left out politicians because their takings are difficult to quantify.

The attitude in India is, of course, that the main aim of work is to make money. If you enjoy your work, you are clearly not the responsible type. The less you enjoy your work, the more difficult you make the environment for others. When everybody is dead serious, productivity is believed to be at its highest.

No office can do without its resident clown who puts the whoopee cushion on the boss’s chair or issues email invitations for a colleague’s wedding when the poor man has been happily married for the past five years. But has he ever got promoted out of turn? He progresses because of seniority and then gets put out to grass.

For a brief while during the dotcom phase, fun entered the Indian workplace. It didn’t survive the purges of the bust phase. Ask not why India stays at the bottom of the world happiness ladder.


The unhappiest countries

South Africa
Dominican Republic
Bosnia Herzegovina

Source: World Happiness Report. The list includes only the bottom 15 countries. Bangladesh is the least happy.