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July 22, 2008

Richard Florida

Shiny Happy Jobs

« Fittest Cities | Main | Young and Professional »

In Rise of the Creative Class I posed the question of the machine shop and the hair salon, asking a group of my students in which profession they would rather work.  A recent UK survey (h/t: Charlotta Mellander) suggests my students are a very smart bunch. 

  • Hairdressers are undoubtedly the UK’s happiest profession>, ranking in the top two positions in every year except 2006, when they were usurped by DJs!  Beauty therapists have also ranked highly, in the top three for the last four years of the survey.
  • Both (hairdressers and beauty therapists) attributed their contentment to strong relationships with their colleagues.  Salon professionals also value having an interest in what they do for a living, which 100 per cent of hairdressers believe is important to on-the-job happiness.

It's worth asking what is about jobs like hair-cutting, cosmetology, and DJing that make people  happy. And as I argued in Rise, there's a lot we can learn from these jobs to upgrade the happiness quotient of other forms of work.


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Mike L.

The happy folks do a lot of happy talking on the job. Machine operators do almost no talking, and what they do say is not happy ....


also, if they do their job well, they make other people happy and can see it in front of them (ie big smile as people walk out with new hairdoes and dancing/sweating/smiling maniacs in a club)

Michael Wells

Of course in the UK they don't have to worry about health insurance.

Zoe B

The guy who cuts my hair has been on the job since age 13, when he quit academics to go to beauty school. He's had a good life, especially for a man with an 8th grade education. He has had the rare pleasure of decades-long personal relationships with many of his clients. But at age 60 his body is getting worn out. He's going to have to quit soon. I get the idea he hasn't got a lot of retirement savings (certainly no pension). He's pretty sad these days. We clients worry about what he is going to do.

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