Norwegian workforce Europe’s ‘most content’

Just one in ten Norwegians feel a pressing need to change careers — the highest job satisfaction rating in Europe — according to pollsters at recruitment company Randstad.

The 90 percent of Norwegians said to be satisfied is slightly higher than the satisfaction rate for Danish workers (87 percent) or Swedes (85 percent). Only Spain and Belgium share the light between Norway and its neighbours in the ranking.

In contrast, four of ten employed Turks and two of ten in Greece reportedly say they need to find a new line of work. Theirs is the saddest lot, judging by the ranking.

Mette Manus, a jobs coach with newspaper Aftenposten, connects the disinterest in career change in Norway with generous nationwide working arrangements for Norwegians: money and time off to move, bond with babies, study or recover from injury mean most workers can combine family and hobbies with work days up to 90 minutes shorter than in North America.

“A good number of managers are becoming more aware of staff satisfaction,” Manus told Aftenposten.

Yet according to a recent finding by national statistics keepers, four of ten Norwegians — far higher than the one-in-ten in the recruiter survey — aim to change jobs or start their own business within three years. Three of the four considering a career change said they had serious plans of action.

Despite decent working conditions, the survey said job security isn’t what it was before the credit crunch. Nevertheless, the building industry in Norway boasts the most satisfied employees, although their job satisfaction numbers have slipped of late. Teachers and those in the medical profession are reportedly least happy.

Recruitment for large companies in Norway is increasingly in the hands of independent recruitment and human resources companies mainly aimed at satisfying their corporate clients, if not job searchers. Computer-savvy Norwegians know software developed to screen candidates isn’t kind to those switching jobs: career change can look like sloppy judgement or a risk for companies when experience is mechanically stacked up.

Still, in contrast to the 10 percent of Norwegians contemplating a new career, just 12 percent of US information-technology workers — traditionally the most content — are said to be “highly engaged” and therefore less likely to flee, according to a recent job satisfaction survey by the Washington-based Corporate Executive Board.

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