Clergy happiness: 'It's the faith and hope that keep us going'

(Photo: Robert Walker)

New figures from the Cabinet Office show that out of hundreds of professions, the clergy have the highest recorded job satisfaction by a significant margin.

Despite having an income of less than a fifth of that earned by chief executives and senior officials, clergy scored 8.291 on the Cabinet Office's job satisfaction index, according to the figures reported in the BBC.

This compared with 7.957 among the chief executives one place below.

The top ten professions according to the scale are:

  1. Clergy (income: £20,500 – job satisfaction: 8.291)
  2. Chief Executives and senior officials (income: 117,700 – job satisfaction: 7.957)
  3. Managers and proprietors in agriculture and horticulture (income: 31,000 – job satisfaction: 7.946)
  4. Company secretaries (income: 18,000 – job satisfaction: 7.93)
  5. Quality assurance and regulatory professionals (income: 42,800 – job satisfaction: 7.891)
  6. Health care practice managers (income: 31,200 – job satisfaction: 7.843)
  7. Medical practitioners (income: 70,600 – job satisfaction 7.836)
  8. Farmers (income: 24,500 – job satisfaction: 7.808)
  9. Hotel and accommodation managers and proprietors (income: 32,400 – job satisfaction: 7.795)
  10. 10. Skilled metal, electrical, and electronic trade supervisors (income: 35,300 – job satisfaction: 7.795)

Those at the bottom of the scale are publicans and managers of licensed premises, with an income of £25,200 and a satisfaction rate of 6.38. Just above them are those working in elementary construction, who earn £20,900 and are 6.389 on the satisfaction index.

The third and fourth least satisfying jobs are debt collectors and industrial cleaners, who earn £17,300 and £15,200 respectively, but reach only 6.561 and 6.563 on the Cabinet's satisfaction index.

Reverend Fiona Weaver, of St Swithun's Church in Purley, said to Christian Today that it is their Christian faith that makes clergy happy.

"It's our faith, it's holding onto the faith that we have and the hope that we have," Rev Weaver explained.

"It's the faith and hope we have in the love of Jesus Christ that keeps us going, even when things are really black."

Reverend Mark Ackford, of the Aylesbury Benefice, said: "The job satisfaction of working in a parish is a parish's ministry - working together with the fellow members of your church family to build the Kingdom of God."

Reverend Peter Ould, a Church of England priest resident in the Canterbury Diocese, says the high level of satisfaction has a lot to do with the reason people become clergy in the first place.

"It's a question of vocation. If you end up doing what you feel that you are called to do, then you will be happier in general," he said.

"If you think that what you are called to do is to work for God, that's something that's absolutely brilliant, and how could anyone be happier."