Tasmania tops the list for happy workers

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When it comes to being happy at work, it turns out money is not everything.

Tasmania might be at the bottom of Australia, but the state tops the country for happiest workers.

New research by Curtin University has found that Tasmanian workers are the happiest in Australia, with 35 per cent of people saying they are 'very satisfied'. Western Australia and Victoria ranked last.

It also found that workers aged over 70 are the most satisfied in their jobs, with six per cent very satisfied, while 29 per cent of Australians - almost one-third - are dissatisfied with payment and working hours.

Generation X and Generation Y are the least happy, at 28 and 24 per cent respectively, and women are slightly more content than men at work, at 31 per cent versus 27 per cent.

Report contributor Rhonda Brighton-Hall adds that the further away people are from a major city, the happier you are - 38 per cent in regional areas are happy, compared to 27 per cent in major cities.

"It does seem when you work in a micro-business or a small business, or if you've got more autonomy about the way that you work you are happier than people in big businesses,” Ms Brighton-Hall told SBS News.

“What stood out most in the report that we were really excited about is that it questions the things that everybody thinks are the way things are. So first of all 'happiest generations' are the people over 70, which makes sense - they're people who are working because they love what they do usually - and also the younger generations, so the people under 24.

“Now that's a generation that we're constantly hearing is unhappy and tough and everything else, but actually they're really happy, and they're coming to work happier than the generations in the middle."

Ms Brighton-Hall points out that people in agriculture and the arts are happiest, while food service workers are least satisfied.

"People are happier with less pay than people with more pay if they've got control over their work, they love the work they do, and they're working with people they like,” she explained.

“So if you're doing work that you enjoy, work that matters, that has purpose, you are happier than people who are not."

Diana Ryall loves her job as the founder of a company that promotes equality, Xplore for Success.

The 70-year-old was Apple Australia's managing director until 2001. After she battled through breast cancer, she says she changed careers, choosing to focus on what made her happy.

"I really want to make a difference,” Ms Ryall told SBS News.

“I've got six grandchildren and five of them are girls, and I really want the workplace to be much more inclusive for men and for women. That's what makes me get up every morning and feel inspired and ambitious to make change."

Ms Brighton-Hall says people just want to work somewhere they're appreciated.

"It is showing that happiness doesn't correlate with programs or initiatives or things like that, it does literally correlate with the work you do,” she said.

“If you can find that little sweet spot of work you love, with people you like being with, you're probably in great shape."

THE FEED (2015): John Marsden's Happy School

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