Farmers unhappiest of all self-employed workers

Fruit & Vegetable
December 31, 2007
By Fruit & Vegetable
Self-employment is good for productivity, except for farmers, who score badly on every measure of health and quality of life, reveals a study published recently in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Finnish researchers used validated survey data to assess factors affecting productivity, perceived health and quality of life among a random sample of 5,000 adults between 30 and 64.

Of the 3,536 people who worked full time, around 90 per cent completed the questionnaires. Of those working full time, almost 10 per cent were self-employed entrepreneurs, of whom 3.5 per cent were farmers.

Self-employed entrepreneurs with staff scored the highest on all the measures assessed. Farmers scored the lowest.

When productivity was assessed, more than a third of farmers achieved low or average scores. This compares with 16 per cent of salaried workers and sole traders and 12 per cent of entrepreneurs with staff.

Self-employed people tend to have more control over their working lives, but their work tends to be more stressful, say the authors, who conclude that farmers in particular need more social and emotional support.

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