Mike the Psych's Blog

What if psychologists ruled the world? In real life?


London – love it or hate it

P1000602 - Version 2First the good news: London is apparently the world’s best city in which to work.

In a poll of almost 200,000 people in nearly 200 countries, one in six people said they would like to work there. And the UK as a whole came second to the USA although no other city in UK came in the top 40 world-wide .

Brits aren’t as keen to work abroad as other nationalities – only 40% of us compared to 2/3 from other countries according to the Boston Consulting Group and TotalJobs recruitment website. Those who do prefer the US, Canada, Germany, Australia and France. The UK attracts workers from Portugal, Israel, Barbados, Romania and Jamaica.

The international director at TotalJobs said “This report cements London’s position as a truly global city. Not only does it offer a wealth of job opportunities min a range of industries but it boasts some of the world’s top cultural attractions so it’s no surprise that people across the globe want to come and work here.”

London is the only city in Britain to enjoy such popularity based on its high salary prospects, cultural diversity and the finance industry. In America seven cities vied for job attractiveness.

The other 9 cities in the top 10 are (in descending order):

  • New York
  • Paris
  • Sydney
  • Madrid
  • Berlin
  • Barcelona
  • Toronto
  • Singapore
  • Rome

Secondly the bad news. While London may be a magnet for jobseekers from around the world people who live there report the highest levels of unhappiness, dissatisfaction with life, and anxiety than almost everywhere else in Britain.

The nation as a whole feels happier in 2014 than at any time since 2011, thanks largely to the improving economy, with those in the SouthEast, east Midlands, and the NorthEast of England registering the highest levels of life satisfaction.

Although scores have improved Londoners still score lower on every measure. Only 1 in 3 of them said they rarely felt anxious or stressed compared to half the population elsewhere in the country.

The London boroughs of Lambeth and Barking & Dagenham are in the “misery” top five while Hackney has the highest levels of anxiety.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) says its research suggests there are drawbacks to living in the capital despite its economic success.

The statisticians point out that population density is a negative factor and the age profile influences the findings with middle-aged adults with children feeling unhappier than younger people.

They also point out that the increase in well-being scores in London may be influenced by expectations of future events as the economic benefits have not yet filtered down into pay packets.

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Angst – the Germans really know what that means

german-large-flagGermans come out on top again but this time it’s no laughing matter.

They are now the biggest worriers in Europe despite having a strong economy and one of the lowest rates of unemployment in the EU.

Ireland and Sweden were the most laid back with the British somewhere in the middle of the 12 countries surveyed by German research organisation GfK Verein.

In Britain unemployment and immigration were the top sources of worry followed by economic stability, the NHS, social security and crime.

Unemployment is the top concern across Europe followed by inflation and economic stability. No-one seems concerned any more about the environment and climate change (apart from our politicians). People have more pressing concerns.

A German writer Stefan Ziedenitz said; “logically if you have more to lose you worry more than if you have nothing to lose…. Germans are afraid of change because it could only be for the worse”. The more you have the more you want to preserve it and the less likely you will risk any change.

Over 13,000 people were interviewed in Austria, Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Spain, and Sweden.

The top worries Europe-wide were:

  • unemployment (37% of all responses)
  • inflation (top in Russia)
  • economic stability (top in Netherlands)
  • the health system
  • rent & housing
  • governance
  • pensions
  • education
  • corruption
  • crime

The finding take some pressure off France which had the reputation in 2011 for being the most miserable country