Managers are the most satisfied with their lot

2006

They're powerful, often wealthy and, according to the latest survey, the happiest of workers of all – they are people in upper and middle management.

The survey of nearly 294,000 employees, including nearly 2,400 senior executives, by researcher Sirota Survey Intelligence has found top managers and those rising up the management pole tend to be more satisfied with their employers and careers than non-management workers.

Senior-level executives and middle managers were also much more satisfied when it came to things such as opportunities to improve their skills, career advancement, satisfaction with the work they do and teamwork.

They were also more satisfied with the speed of decision making, understanding of the business strategy, opportunities to be innovative, leadership effectiveness, teamwork between departments and personal accountability.

There was little difference top and middle managers and non-managers when it came to satisfaction with product innovation and the direction of their business, said Sirota.

But before top managers become too smug, they were generally dissatisfied with their work-life balance, with senior executives the most unhappy of all.

"The most senior group feels more empowered, with more opportunity, challenges and a strong understanding of, and connection to, the company's business strategy," said Sirota chief executive Jeffrey Saltzman.

"In general, upper-level executives are more upbeat. But while they are more positive on overall satisfaction, they face frustration and other issues just like everyone else," he added.

It was around work-life balance that there were the biggest concerns, he suggested, particularly around the dramatic increase in the pace of business and the need to be available at all times, anywhere in the world.

"To cope with the need to be available 'off-hours' most employees are taking care of some personal business during the work day," argued Saltzman.

"Although most companies do not have formal policies addressing this, it has been evolving in the workplace.

"These trends may continue, since we are unlikely to see an overall decrease in work demands on our lives," he concluded.