The UK's most miserable jobs

Yes, yours could probably be worse

Updated: 
124904114.jpeg

Does your job make you miserable? Over a third of people say it does.

It seems we're a nation of gloomy workers, with more than six in ten saying they're stressed out at work, and only a third saying their job makes them happy.

Mondays - as you might expect - are the most miserable day of the week - even more depressing, in fact, than working at the weekend.

But not all careers are equal. Consider therapists, for example: more than half of those polled in a recent survey for Workwear Express said they positively enjoyed their jobs.

Contrast this with call centres, where more than a quarter of workers say they are thoroughly miserable.

"There are lots of reasons that a person might not enjoy their job, from working long hours to dealing with difficult people," says Workwear Express's John Johnston.

"So what's the underlying cause of the nation's unhappy workforce? It appears that poor management is the biggest contributor to an employee's low sense of satisfaction at work."

Just over 31% of those polled agreed that being badly managed was what made them most miserable in the workplace. Having a heavy workload - another management issue - was a close second, cited by 29%.

However, and perhaps ironically, it's managers themselves that tend to be the most unhappy of all workers. Twenty-eight percent say they are stressed all the time at work, and a quarter say they feel constantly miserable.

So why are call centre workers so glum?

"Call centres are terrible places to work, and will grind you into dust. They're the 21st century version of the coal mines or ditch digging," writes one anonymous poster on Reddit.

"So much so that nowadays you'd be treated better as a miner or ditch digger, and likely make more money doing that."

Call centre workers are, generally, constantly monitored. They are given incredibly tight performance requirements, covering the average time spent on each call and between calls, the number of calls answered and the number of calls put on hold; they often have 'upselling' targets as well.

It's a little harder, though, to see just why accountants are so miserable. One reason may be a staff shortage which, research from professional recruiters Robert Walters revealed earlier this year, has left almost half of firms struggling to meet deadlines and client expectations.

A quarter of accountancy employers reported reduced morale as more work was piled on existing staff.

They are also, according to Adzuna, one of the least-satisfied professions when it comes to pay, despite an average salary of £37,384.

As for binmen, surprisingly, the smell isn't the biggest problem - apparently, you get used to it very quickly. What's more of an issue is, well, us.

Earlier this year, figures obtained by The Sun revealed that there were 245 verbal and physical attacks on binmen in 2014 - with workers being punched, spat at, scalded, threatened with axes and doused in chemicals.

The hours may also have something to do with their unhappiness - although they tend to get off by mid-afternoon, it's generally an early start.

The job involves walking as much as ten or fifteen miles a day - and, perhaps surprisingly, it's the most physically dangerous job in the UK, apart from agricultural work.

Finally, spare a thought for those of us who have to work during the festive season - more than half of all workers do, according to the Workwear Express survey.

Most people say they loathe having to do it, although nearly one in five 18-to-24-year-olds say they love working at Christmas time. Sixteen percent of those working in Yorkshire and the Humber said the same.

"So what would make working at Christmas a happier experience? Many admitted that more of a Christmassy atmosphere at work might help, with 30% saying that they felt that their workplace wasn't particularly festive during the holidays," says Johnston.

"Could employers help improve the mood of their workforce by spreading a little more seasonal joy around the office? Our survey certainly suggests so!

The top ten miserable jobs (source: Workwear Express):
Call centre advisor: 28.53%
Accountant: 17.45%
Bin man: 14.90%
Cleaner: 12.73%
Banker: 8.92%
Waiting staff: 7.06%
Army officer: 6.57%
Shop assistant: 5.59%
Social worker: 4.51%
Doctor's receptionist: 4.31%

The most miserable days of the week to work:
Monday 34.80%
Tuesday 15.69%
Wednesday 12.94%
Thursday 7.45%
Friday 7.45%
On weekends 8.73%

Lawyers More Prone to Depression Than Other Professions

The UK's top ten dream jobs

The UK's top ten dream jobs