Back To Listing

Happy days: job satisfaction in Australia

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), October 2012–September 2013 (n = 9,585). Base: Australians 14+ in paid employment
Nobody could accuse Australian workers of being lazy. Even though the official full-time working week as defined by Fair Work Australia is 38 hours, more than a quarter (26.7%) of Aussies in paid employment work over 40 hours a week — with one in five of those clocking up more than 60 hours. With today being Go Home on Time Day, Roy Morgan Research investigates how Australian workers really feel about their jobs.

If so many of us are working long hours, do we at least derive some satisfaction from it? To a certain extent: one third of workers (33.5%) who did more than 40 hours per week are very satisfied with their jobs and 43.9% are satisfied. Perhaps surprisingly, their job satisfaction is fractionally higher than that of paid workers in general: 32.5% of Aussie workers overall are very satisfied with their job and 42.9% are satisfied.

Dissatisfaction levels are far lower, with 6.6% of all Australians in paid employment dissatisfied and just 2.4% very dissatisfied. There is also a significant proportion of ambivalent employees (14.8%) who feel neither satisfied or dissatisfied.

Heigh ho, heigh ho: levels of satisfaction with current job


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), October 2012–September 2013 (n = 9,585). Base: Australians 14+ in paid employment

Of the states and territories, Tasmania has the largest percentage of very satisfied workers (35.3%), while Western Australia rates the highest for very dissatisfied employees (2.8%).

Satisfaction factors

Obviously, job satisfaction can be due to factors other than hours worked: from a sense of job security to a healthy salary or recognition of work well done.

Half of Australian workers feel their job security is good, and of those, 86.9% reported being either satisfied or very satisfied at work (compared to 52.4% of those who felt their job security was poor).

Close to half (49.6%) of workers rate their pay as good or very good, and an overwhelming proportion (87.9%) of them are either satisfied or very satisfied with their jobs. Interestingly, more than half (54.2%) of those who consider themselves to be poorly paid are also satisfied.

The recognition dimension

So if money isn’t the main source of job satisfaction for Aussie workers, what is? Our data indicates that the happiest employees are those who receive recognition for their efforts. Of Australians in paid employment, 55.3% are satisfied with the recognition they get at work — with a whopping 93.3% of those also being satisfied with their job generally.

In contrast, 18.4% of workers are dissatisfied with the recognition they receive on the job, and 36.7% of them are dissatisfied with their jobs too — more than four times the national average for job dissatisfaction.

Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“There are currently almost 11 million Australians in paid employment, and just over three quarters of them are satisfied with their jobs. While many people work long hours, and others consider themselves poorly paid, it’s encouraging to see that job satisfaction is so widespread.

“Yet regardless of how satisfied a worker may be with their job, Go Home on Time Day is an important reminder that a healthy work-life balance is crucial to maintaining job satisfaction and optimum performance. The other key factor appears to be recognition in the workplace, which has a strong bearing on an employee’s overall job satisfaction.

“Roy Morgan’s in-depth profiles of different kinds of employees (satisfied or dissatisfied, those who think their job security is good, and so on) provide an invaluable resource for organisations keen to foster a more positive workplace culture.”

For comments or more information please contact:

Norman Morris
Industry Communications Director
Office: +61 (3) 9224 5172
Mobile: +61 402 014 474

Related Research Reports

View our extensive range of Employment and Unemployment Profiles, including Employees who are satisfied with their job, Employees who are dissatisfied with their job, Employees who are satisfied with job recognition and more.

About Roy Morgan Research

Roy Morgan Research is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices in each state of Australia, as well as in New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan Research has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

In Australia, Roy Morgan Research is considered to be the authoritative source of information on financial behaviour, readership, voting intentions and consumer confidence. Roy Morgan Research is a specialist in recontact customised surveys which provide invaluable and effective qualitative and quantitative information regarding customers and target markets.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%