Men enjoy their jobs less than they do housework on average, research says

Men enjoy their jobs less than they do housework, and feeling rushed is one of the reasons, research says.

In 2015 over 4,000 people who were in employment were asked to rate every 10 minutes throughout the day how much they enjoyed their current activity, a British Sociological Association employment conference in Belfast heard today [Friday, 14 September 2018].

On a 1 to 7 scale – ‘not at all’ to ‘very much’ – men gave their paid work an average score of 4.4 and their housework 4.5, Dr Pierre Walthery, of the Centre for Time Use Research at the University of Oxford said. Women rated paid work an average score of 4.5 and housework 4.4.

Both sexes rated activities such as socialising, caring for others, doing volunteer work and cultural events as more enjoyable than paid work, typically scoring around 6 out of 7.

For his research, Dr Walthery analysed the data to compare people of the same age, education and marital status and isolate the factors that varied enjoyment at work.

He told the ‘Work, Employment and Society’ event that:

  • Feeling rushed was the strongest negative factor linked to lower enjoyment at work,
  • Men who were satisfied with their income found work more enjoyable than those who did not, but satisfaction with income had no effect on women’s job enjoyment.
  • Working unsocial hours was not linked to lower enjoyment at work.
  • Those who were satisfied with their work-life balance and were self-employed were most likely to score work as more enjoyable.

The occupations most associated with high levels of enjoyment for women were skilled agricultural occupations, the leisure industry, and transport. For men it was the health profession, caring occupations, and culture, media and sports jobs.

  • 4,086 people aged 16 and over in the UK who were in paid work took part in the Time Use Survey in 2015, run by NatCen on behalf of the Centre for Time Use Research. In total they recorded almost 111,000 observations about their level of enjoyment, of which 25,000 were about paid work

For more information, please contact:

Tony Trueman
British Sociological Association
Tel: 07964 023392


1. The British Sociological Association’s Work, Employment and Society conference takes place from 12-14 September 2018 at the Europa Hotel, Belfast.

2. The British Sociological Association’s charitable aim is to promote sociology. The BSA is a Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered in England and Wales. Company Number: 3890729. Registered Charity Number 1080235