14 February 2022

Love what you do? New poll reveals the UK’s favourite jobs


Emma-Louise Jones

Emma-Louise Jones

Emma-Louise Jones is digital PR manager at Ciphr. She is a member of the PRCA and has worked in PR, communications and marketing for over 15 years.


Employee engagement Research


While many people may be busy considering their career options, and even looking to change employers this year, new research reveals that the majority of Brits do actually enjoy their jobs.

According to data from HR software provider Ciphr, released today, around two-thirds (65%) of the 1,031 employees polled said they either love or like their current jobs (19% and 46% respectively).

Ciphr took the findings of how people feel about their jobs and grouped people with related job titles together (using the Office for National Statistics’ standard occupational classifications) to compile a list of the UK’s best-loved – and also least-liked – occupations: www.ciphr.com/uks-favourite-jobs.

Educational support assistant, teaching assistant, and chief executive scoop the top three spots, with around nine in ten job holders in these occupations loving or liking what they do for a living. Proving that salary isn’t always the key to career happiness, the median full-time gross annual salary for educational support assistants is around six times less that of CEOs (£13,359 compared to £81,102).

Being a business or financial project manager came in fourth, while programmers and software developers were fifth on the list.

This is followed by financial managers and directors, security guards (and related occupations), quality assurance and regulatory professionals (including compliance managers and financial regulators), social workers, and engineers. Around one in eight of the 1.1 million people doing these jobs love or like their current career.

Some of the occupations with the largest number of workers in the UK, however, are much further down the list. Only around half (53%) of the 1.4 million people working as nurses, care workers or home carers, and 61% of the 1.1 million people working as sales and retail assistants, retail cashiers and check-out operators reportedly enjoy (love or like) their jobs.

The top 15 favourite jobs in the UK, sorted by how many people love or like what they do, are:

  1. Educational support assistants, including learning support assistants, non-teaching assistants and special needs assistants: 91%
  2. Teaching assistants: 88%
  3. Chief executives and senior officials: 87%
  4. Business and financial project management professionals: 85%
  5. Programmers and software development professionals, including database developers and software engineers: 82%
  6. Financial managers and directors: 81%
  7. Security guards and related occupations, including CCTV operators, park keepers and private investigators: 80%
  1. Quality assurance and regulatory professionals, including compliance managers, financial regulators and quality managers: 80%
  1. Social workers: 80%
  1. Engineers (excluding software engineers and IT engineers): 77%
  2. Information technology and telecommunications directors: 75%
  3. IT specialist managers, including data centre managers, IT support managers and service delivery managers: 73%
  1. Chefs: 71%
  2. Police officers (sergeant and below): 71%
  3. IT project and programme managers: 71%

Customer service reps and advisers, large goods vehicle drivers, IT user support technicians, and IT operations technicians fared less favourably in the poll, with less than half of the people employed in these occupations saying they either love or like their jobs (48%, 40%, 40% and 33% respectively).

Looking at the results more generally, people at the start of their careers seem the most likely to be positive about their work. More than two-thirds (67%) of 18- to 24-year-olds reportedly love or like their jobs, compared to just 62% of those aged 35 to 44. That figure does rise slightly to 65% among workers over 45, perhaps signalling that a higher proportion of mature workers have found a career path they like (rather than one that just pays the bills).

More women apparently enjoy their jobs than men (67% compared to 62% say they love or like their jobs) while more men say they hate their jobs (4% compared to 3%). Part-time workers were also more likely to say that they love or like their jobs than their full-time counterparts (67% compared to 64%).

Higher-salaried roles do seem to equate to better job approval ratings overall, statistically at least. Workers earning over £45,000 are twice as likely to say they love their jobs compared to people earning under that wage (29% compared to 14%).

On average, most survey respondents have been in their current roles for 6.8 years and the median length of service is five years. Interestingly, people start to feel negatively about their work almost right away. More than 1 in 10 (13%)  people who started their current jobs in 2021 say they dislike or hate their jobs, which rises to nearly one in four (23%) by the four-year mark.

Shirley Bousfield MCIPD, strategic HR consultant at Ciphr, says: “It’s important to have realistic expectations of your role, which may vary depending on where you are in your career. While it’s great to aspire to your dream job, the perfect job is very rare. Be prepared to compromise at times but still ensure that most of your needs are met. I generally think being happy in your role 60% of the time (three days out of five, on average) is reasonable, so simply changing your mindset can be a big motivator to help you feel happier and more engaged at work. Without necessarily needing to switch jobs.”

Ciphr polled a representative sample of 1,031 employed British adults to find out more about how people feel about their current jobs (they were also asked to disclose their exact job titles). The results are available www.ciphr.com/uks-favourite-jobs.

Due to the survey’s sample size some job titles were underrepresented and therefore too statistically unreliable to include in the list of the UK’s favourite jobs.

More than 600 organisations use Ciphr’s cloud-based HR, learning, payroll and ATS recruitment software solutions globally across the public, private and non-profit sectors, with customers including Autovia, Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Cambridge Building Society, Cera Care, Claire’s Accessories UK, Cotswold Archaeology, Devon Doctors, Early Years Alliance, Fareham College, GB News, Information Commissioner’s Office, Ingeus UK, Met Office, Safestyle UK, Sport England, Volkswagen Group UK, and Wales Air Ambulance.

For more information, please visit www.ciphr.com.


Media enquiries:
Emma-Louise Jones, digital PR manager at Ciphr
e: [email protected]
t: 01628 244206

David Richter, director of marketing at Ciphr
e: [email protected]
Website: www.ciphr.com
Twitter: @CiphrHRSoftware
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/ciphr


Ciphr is a specialist provider of SaaS HR, payroll, recruitment and learning software through its HCM platform, Ciphr Connect. Ciphr’s cloud-based solutions help busy HR teams to streamline their processes across the entire employee lifecycle and spend more time working strategically.

Ciphr Connect enables seamless integration, not only with Ciphr’s own solutions but also to an ecosystem of specialist, third-party tools using its modern API technology.

Ciphr is a privately held company, headquartered in Marlow, Buckinghamshire. Over 200 employees work across the group, which includes Ciphr, Digits Industries and Payroll Business Solutions (PBS).

More than 600 organisations use Ciphr’s solutions globally across the public, private and non-profit sectors, with customers including Autovia, Blackpool Pleasure Beach, British Museum, Bunzl UK, Cera Care, GB News, Lebara, Met Office, Phosters FM, Safestyle UK, The Cambridge Building Society, The University of Buckingham, Vodafone Automotive UK, and Volkswagen Group UK.

Ciphr spokespeople are available to provide expert media comment on a broad range of topics, including HR strategy, people management, employee experience and wellbeing, the future of work, tech trends, business and leadership, learning and development, and more.

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