Having a job is a critical element of well-being. It provides a sense of identity and offers a way for socialization and connection—key components of contentment. So say the findings in a new publication called How’s Life. Published recently by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), it took a snapshot of what makes up people’s lives in 40 countries. The OECD encourages strategies to improve the social and economic well-being of people worldwide.
The report looks at 11 characteristics of life—including people’s occupations, salaries, health, education, environment and living arrangements. It is part of the OECD’s continuing endeavor to develop innovative ways to assess well-being that go beyond analyzing a country’s gross domestic product.
Some of the questions the report’s authors posed to people included if they liked their jobs, whether or not they were spending enough time with their families, if their friends were supportive, if they trusted their neighbors and if they were satisfied with life overall.
Among the report’s discoveries:
- Work is a critical component of well-being. Not only do good jobs provide money, those jobs also can shape personal identity and provide opportunities for social relationships.
- Employment rates in the OECD countries are comparatively low in southern European nations and high in the Nordic countries and Switzerland.
- Long-term unemployment is virtually nonexistent in Korea, Mexico and Norway, while they are almost three times the OECD average in Estonia, the Slovak Republic and Spain, the report stated.
- Japanese and Australian workers are most likely to work part time. Chileans and Poles hold the highest number of temporary contracts.
- South Africans and Koreans spend the longest times commuting to and from work, while the Irish, Danes and Swedes have the shortest commutes, the report stated. Transportation time is a key element in work/life balance, an important measure of well-being.
- Less than 30 percent of European workers are satisfied with their work/life balance.
- Time crunch is particularly strong for working mothers who, according to the report, would prefer to spend more time with their children.
You can view the report here.
Aliah D. Wright is an online editor/manager for SHRM. Click here to read the original article.