Skip to main content

Eight Surprising Reasons Women Are Actually Happier at Work Than Men

 Eight Surprising Reasons Women Are Actually Happier at Work Than Men

New research from employee benefits provider Personal Group's Gender Happiness Gap research suggests that women are happier than men at work. The group surveyed over 1,200 UK employees about their happiness, enthusiasm, pride, and efficiency at work, and it found that, while the gender pay gap is in men's favor, women are actually happier.

While 45% of female staff are happy most of the time at work, the same could only be said for 38% of male staff. Amongst women, the 30-to-49-year-old age group is the unhappiest, which the researchers believe could be due to juggling family life alongside work commitments. Meanwhile, enthusiasm at work increases with seniority for both genders but, in a similar way that the gender pay gap compounds as an employee’s career progresses, as does the enthusiasm gap. 37% of frontline female employees report feeling enthusiastic about work "often/most of the time," versus only 30% of male frontline employees. By the time women reach the top of their organization, as directors or company owners, 70% are enthusiastic about their job "often/most of the time," versus only half of male company owners and directors.

"We all want a more a productive workforce, one that reflects the customers we serve and the communities we are a part of," said Mark Scanlon, chief executive officer at Personal Group, according to Business Leader. "To do this, it is important to create a more gender-balanced and diverse working environment for employees."

He added that the results make it clear that "more money doesn’t result in greater workplace happiness." And while the gender pay gap indeed still needs closing, it's important to still understand why women do seem happier at work.

Women often choose more fulfilling work.

95% of professional women feel their job is important and worthwhile at least some of the time (with 72% feeling this often or most of the time). And, in contrast, only 78% of male professionals feel their job is worthwhile at least some of the time (with less than half feeling their job is important and worthwhile often or most of the time). This is perhaps because women statistically choose more impactful work.

Women work efficiently.

Only 73% of male frontline employees feel they are working efficiently at least some of the time, while 84% of female frontline employees feel they are working efficiently at least some of the time.

[Related: Positive Relationships Reduce Stress At Work]

Women are more enthusiastic about their work.

Women appear to be naturally more enthusiastic about their work. More women (44%) than men (35%) report that they are enthusiastic about their job most of the time. And, by the time women reach the top of their organization as director or company owner, 70% are enthusiastic about their job often or most of the time, versus only half of male company owners and directors. Perhaps this is because women have to work harder to get there.

Women may have lower aspirations.

"Some say they are just cheerier than men, but it could also be that their aspirations are lower," said Professor Andrew Oswald of the University of Warwick, who carried out a similar survey.

[Related: Navigating Gender Dynamics In All Your Relationships]

Women's success is seen as victorious.

"When women succeed it is seen as a victory, but for men it is expected — this puts pressure on them," Ruth Lea, head of policy at the Institute of Directors, had added about the same aforementioned study.

Some women are just happy to have a job.

"The young are happy to have a job," Oswald added.

Women have different expectations that aren't quite as high.

One paper's proposed explanation appeals to the notion of relative well-being, especially relative to workers' expectations. In other words, an identical man and woman with the same jobs and expectations would report identical job satisfaction, but women's expectations are argued to be lower than men's.

Women are more engaged at work.

According to previous research called Study in Leadership: Women Do it Better Than Men, women are more engaged in the workplace and are therefore more likely to have a stronger focus on their personal development.

[Related: The Single Question That is Changing the Way I Plan and Set Goals]

--

AnnaMarie Houlis via Fairygodboss.

A version of this post previously appeared on Fairygodboss, a leading career community that helps women get the inside scoop on pay, corporate culture, benefits, and work flexibility. Founded in 2015, Fairygodboss offers company ratings, job listings, discussion boards, and career advice.


Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.

{{playbook.title}}

Continue learning with this Ellevate Playbook:

Ellevate Network is a community of professional women committed to helping each other succeed. We use the power of community to help you take the next step in your career.

By sharing your email you agree to our Terms of Use & Privacy Policy

By sharing your email you agree to our Terms of Use & Privacy Policy

🎊

Thank you! Career advice and opportunities are on the way to your inbox.

Add your zip code, so we can invite you to our local events!