Those who choose to work part-time are happier than full-time workers, according to national statistics.
It is the first time that the UK’s Annual Population Survey has registered a statistically significant gap between those working full-time and those working part-time. The survey of 165,000 people asks how satisfied individuals are with their lives and how worthwhile they feel their lives are. It also asks about levels of anxiety.
Overall, happiness levels are up: 77% of respondents gave answers of 7 or more out of 10 when asked how satisfied they are. That was 1.2 percentage points higher than the previous year. In addition 81% gave answers of 7 or more when asked how worthwhile they felt their lives are.
The Office for National Statistics speculated that the improving employment market and special events such as the Olympics and Queen’s jubilee may have boosted happiness levels.
While those working part-time rated their life satisfaction, well-being and happiness slightly higher on average than full-time workers, there were no differences in anxiety levels between the two groups.
Students and those who did not want full-time jobs had higher levels of satisfaction than those working part-time for other reasons, such as disability, ill health or inability to find a full-time role.
“The findings again suggest that on average, those who make a positive choice to work part-time either because they are students or because they do not want a full-time job have a greater sense of personal well-being. By contrast, those whose choices have been constrained by illness, disability, or perceived inability to get a full-time job have lower average personal well-being,” said the report.
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