Appreciation more important than salary to employees’ happiness

On International Day of Happiness, a new nationwide survey of British workers reveals appreciation is key to the happiness of the nation’s employees with 80 per cent saying that feeling appreciated is important to their happiness at work – ahead of salary (58 per cent) and feeling trusted (55 per cent). However, the survey also reveals there is work to be done to boost workplace happiness, with less than half (45 per cent) of employees saying they actually feel appreciated and only two-thirds (67 per cent) saying they are happy at work.

The Happy Office Survey rates the happiest sectors to work in with construction and manufacturing topping the league table with nearly 8 in 10 (78 per cent) saying they are happy at work, followed by media and communications (72 per cent), and hospitality and leisure (72 per cent)*.

At the bottom of the league table is retail, with only 54 per cent of retail workers reporting that they are happy at work, below IT and telecoms (66 per cent) and education (67 per cent).

Workplace Happiness League Table

Percentage of employees who say they are ‘happy’ or ‘very happy’ at work:

1 Construction and manufacturing – 78 per cent
2 = Media and communications – 72 per cent
2 = Hospitality and leisure – 72 per cent
4 Medical and health – 70 per cent
5 Real estate / property – 69 per cent
6 = Finance – 68 per cent
6 = Legal – 68 per cent
8 Education – 67 per cent
9 IT and telecoms – 66 per cent
10 Retail – 54 per cent

Survey Highlights:

Key to happiness: 80 per cent of people say that feeling appreciated is important to their happiness at work, ahead of salary (58 per cent) and feeling trusted (55 per cent) but only 45 per cent of employees actually feel appreciated by their company

Demonstrating appreciation: Training and development (80 per cent), tools and technology to do the job efficiently (79 per cent), full kitchen facilities (59per cent) and quiet zones to concentrate (59 per cent) are all considered important in making people feel appreciated at work.

Happiest workers: Construction and manufacturing workers are the nation’s happiest; 78 per cent are happy at work compared with 67 per cent of employees nationally. Over half (54 per cent) of workers in this sector feel appreciated by their company, compared with 45 per cent nationally, and they are most likely to agree that they have the right tools and technology to do their jobs (66 per cent vs 55 per cent nationally).

Least happy workers: Those working in retail are the nation’s least happy employees, with only 54 per cent saying they are happy at work. Retail workers are least likely of all sectors to say they feel appreciated by their company (34 per cent vs 45 per cent nationally) and are least likely to have the right tools and technology to do their jobs (47 per cent vs 55 per cent nationally). Retail employees are also most likely to be concerned by a negative work culture such a bullying, 45 per cent are worried about this vs 36 per cent nationally.

Young and happy: Generation Z (18-24) – the office’s youngest workers – are the happiest, with 72 per cent saying that they are happy at work, vs 67 per cent nationally. Gen Z’s are much more likely to think a good company culture (71 per cent vs 48 per cent nationally) and a great office environment (66 per cent vs 49 per cent nationally) are important to their happiness at work

Jitesh Patel, Chief Executive at Peldon Rose, commented,

Happiness is not only crucial to the mental wellbeing of employees, it is also good for business. Happy workers will be more productive and creative and more likely to be loyal to their employers. To improve happiness levels, it is vital that employers demonstrate their appreciation to their employees by investing in training and development, tools and technology and the right office environment.

*Survey conducted by workplace consultants, Peldon Rose

Interested in wellbeing in the workplace? We recommend the Workplace Wellbeing and Stress Forum 2019.





Aphrodite is a creative writer and editor specialising in publishing and communications. She is passionate about undertaking projects in diverse sectors. She has written and edited copy for media as varied as social enterprise, art, fashion and education. She is at her most happy owning a project from its very conception, focusing on the client and project research in the first instance, and working closely with CEOs and Directors throughout the consultation process. Much of her work has focused on rebranding; messaging and tone of voice is one of her expertise, as is a distinctively unique writing style in my most of her creative projects. Her work is always driven by the versatility of language to galvanise image and to change perception, as it is by inspiring and being inspired by the wondrous diversity of people with whom paths she crosses cross!

Aphrodite has had a variety of high profile industry clients as a freelancer, and previously worked for a number of years as an Editor and Journalist for

Aphrodite is also a professional painter.