04/28/2016 03:46 EDT | Updated 04/28/2016 03:49 EDT

Job Happiness Index: Canadians Less Content At Work Than With Rest Of Lives

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Canadians may be among the world’s happiest people, but that happiness doesn’t extend far into the workplace.

Canada ranked 17th out of 35 countries surveyed by job search website’s Job Happiness Index for 2016. The survey’s results suggest job satisfaction has much more to do with work-life balance than the size of your paycheque.

Many — though not all — wealthy countries ranked poorly in the index, with Britain (22nd) and the U.S. (23rd) putting in an even poorer performance than Canada. Japan and Germany have the world’s least happy employees, the survey found.

“Overall national wealth appears to have a minimal impact on job happiness,” the survey noted.

“The most important contributing factor to job happiness is the degree to which employees are able to find harmony between the demands of work and their personal lives.”

"The types of job that make people happy are frequently those which give individuals a sense of purpose or open up future opportunities."— Job Happiness Index 2016

Compensation came in last as a factor for job happiness, but says companies shouldn’t use that as an excuse not to pay good wages — “career paths and compensation still matter.”

At the top of the index are countries not known for their amazing job markets and high pay — Colombia, Mexico and Russia, in that order.

Countries with the happiest workers (story continues below)

The results stand in stark contrast to surveys looking at overall happiness, on which Canada consistently ranks near the top. Canadians ranked sixth in overall happiness in the latest edition of the UN-backed World Happiness Report.

Beyond work-life balance, the most important elements of job happiness had to do with management, culture and job security.

“Employers ... may want to consider not only the significance placed on attaining a satisfactory work-life balance by millions of reviewers, but also how to tap into their employees’ desire to feel their work has meaning and makes a difference in the world,” said in the survey.

“After all, the types of job that make people happy are frequently those which give individuals a sense of purpose or open up future opportunities—whether it be through helping others or as directors of companies.”

Indeed carried out the survey using data from more than 10 million anonymous reviews on companies posted to its site. It used data only from the 35 countries where there were more than 1,000 reviews available.

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