Sector-specific differences in occupational burnout and work engagement – this is how you can assess your own well-being at work

The “How are you feeling?” self-assessment test by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health allows anyone to measure their own level of well-being at work – and nearly 80,000 respondents have already done so. Comprehensive data on the responses has been compiled into the Work-Life Knowledge service, providing extensive insight into the phenomena related to well-being at work. Psychological well-being needs to be considered in various sectors. For example, job burnout symptoms are common in male-dominant sectors that involve heavy physical stress.
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Jaana-Piia Mäkiniemi

Jaana-Piia Mäkiniemi

Jari Hakanen

Jari Hakanen

Finnish Institute of Occupational Health media release, 13 October 2022 

The “How are you feeling?” test assesses the respondent’s well-being at work in six dimensions: job satisfaction, work engagement, occupational burnout, job boredom, work addiction, and level of work ability.

“Measuring well-being at work using several different types of experiences allows us to get a diverse picture of the phenomena – both regarding positive and negative experiences,” says Jaana-Piia Mäkiniemi, Specialist Researcher for the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. 

Nearly 80,000 respondents have already taken the “How are you feeling?” test. An anonymised dataset of approximately 45,000 responses has been collected into the Work-Life Knowledge service, demonstrating the distribution of responses in all of the different dimensions of well-being at work.

More than half of respondents report job satisfaction or job burnout

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See table in the Work-Life Knowledge service. You can also easily embed the visualisations in your own website. The code can be found by clicking the “Embed content” button on the side.

A little over half of the respondents report their job satisfaction to be high. Unfortunately, just as many estimated that they have significant symptoms of job burnout.

A little les than half of the respondents assessed that their work engagement is high and work ability average.

In responses regarding work addiction and job boredom, the most common level is “slight”.

“Different experiences related to well-being at work are not separate or mutually exclusive, but rather form a whole. For example, the same person can experience slight work addiction and a high level of work engagement. However, there is a clearer negative connection between certain experiences. For example, significant symptoms of occupational burnout do not typically coincide with high levels of work engagement,” says Jaana-Piia Mäkiniemi. 

Work engagement is highest in interpersonal work and job burnout the most prevalent in male-dominant sectors 

In addition to the overall dataset, the Work-Life Knowledge service also allows exploring experiences of well-being at work by sector, educational level, age and gender.

The responses indicate that job burnout symptoms are common in sectors that involve heavy physical stress that are traditionally male-dominant. Job boredom is also more common in manual labour.

“In addition to physical well-being, these sectors need to pay attention to employees’ psychological well-being and identify ways of bolstering resources that promote meaningful work,” says Jari Hakanen, Research Professor at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. 

Work engagement is highest in the education sector and social welfare and health care services.

“Previous studies have shown that, even on the European level, people in the much derided social welfare and healthcare and educational sectors experience higher levels of work engagement compared with other sectors. Factors that promote meaningfulness in these professions include a strong sense of purpose, variety of the work and experiences of accomplishment,” says Jari Hakanen.

Work addiction and job boredom are factors of well-being at work that have been studied less, but on which we now have some current data. According to the data, work addiction is most common in the real estate sector and the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sector. Job boredom, on the other hand, is most common in transportation and storage, manufacturing and construction. 

See the data in the Work-Life Knowledge service 

The “How are you feeling?” test on well-being at work 

  • The free-of-charge “How are you feeling?” test on well-being at work is part of the Mental Health Support Toolkit developed as part of the Mental health programme for work life: Mind and work | Mental Health Support Toolkit (ttl.fi)
  • You will be provided with personal feedback based on your responses, which you can compare with other people’s responses in the Work-Life Knowledge service, if you wish. 

For more information, please contact 

  • Jaana-Piia Mäkiniemi, Specialist Researcher, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, [email protected], +358 50 473 6062  
  • Jari Hakanen, Research Professor, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, [email protected], +358 40 562 5433 

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