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Swedes put boss before salary

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Swedes put boss before salary
Photo: Bill Davenport
17:15 CEST+02:00
Sweden's workers are happier than at any time in the last three years, according to a new report. And when it comes to job satisfaction it's not the cash that counts, but your boss.

The survey, carried out by the Swedish Quality Index (Svensk kvalitetsindex - SKI), revealed that after two years in which job satisfaction levels stagnated, employees are increasingly optimistic. On an index of 1 to 100, the general level of job satisfaction across the country was rated at 72.1 - up from 62.6 in 2006.

The rise is significant, Jan Eklöf at SKI told The Local.

"People in Sweden are feeling more secure and generally more optimistic about the future," he said.

"Compared to two years ago there is less pressure about things like downsizing. Back then, many people felt like they were victims in their jobs. But now they feel that their job prospects are better - they have more choices so they don't have to accept the job they're in."

Nevertheless, there are significant differences in the levels of job satisfaction across Sweden. Workers in Kronoberg county, in the south of Sweden, were most satisfied, feeling that they have good development opportunities and motivating jobs.

But the demanding urbanites of Stockholm were least satisfied, reporting that their jobs did not live up to their expectations.

Swedes working in agriculture, forestry and fishing were most content in their jobs, while healthcare and communications workers were found to be the least satisfied.

Employers wishing to improve their staff job satisfaction should look at themselves rather throwing money at the issue. According to SKI, salary is only the seventh most significant factor in workplace contentedness.

Of 5,000 people interviewed, 22 percent said motivation was the most important factor, while 16 percent said that the relationship with their manager was key. Only seven percent said that salary was most important.

There may also have been a political effect following the election in September 2006.

"We saw a big leap after the change of government. Then after a few months there was a backlash. But now the index is back up again, perhaps as people are starting to see the difference in their pay packet that Mr Reinfeldt promised," said Eklöf, who professed to being representative of the survey's results.

"I am slightly more satisfied than I was two years ago. My boss is quite decent."

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