Happiness, as Ken Dodd once sang, is the greatest joy that we possess.

But one in three people working in Brighton and Hove does not share the legendary showman's joie de vivre.

A survey of city employees showed a third are unhappy in their jobs.

Fewer than half are satisfied with the training opportunities they are given, while more than a quarter say their potential is withering on the vine because their skills are underused.

The figures come from vocational qualifications body City and Guilds, which surveyed 1,000 workers in the UK.

Nearly a third of people in the Brighton rated their job satisfaction at less than seven out of ten.

Only people in Yorkshire, Scotland and Wales were unhappier than people in the South East.

Human resources managers, lawyers and secretaries were least satisfied.

In Brighton, 52 per cent of people say they do not get enough opportunity for training, while 27 per cent say their skills are not used.

Across the country, people in lower-paid jobs said their workplaces were happier than those of higher earners.

City and Guilds director general Chris Humphries said: "When asked to rate their workplace in terms of happiness, almost a third of people earning in the £10,000 to £15,000 bracket gave their job a ten out of ten.

"Compare that to workers in the £40,000 to £45,000 income bracket, where less than five per cent gave their workplace a ten. This indicates, and it may come as a surprise to some, that financial reward doesn't always mean a happier working environment or employee."

Hairdressers were the happiest employees in the poll, with 57 per cent admitting they look forward to going back to work after a day off.

Ben Morphy, 33, of Ginkgo, in St George's Road, Brighton, said: "I'm genuinely happy doing my job. Hairdressers' salons are excellent atmospheres to work in. It is like being at home with your friends, having a good chat with your music on."

The UK's happiest worker, according to the City and Guilds' statistics, would be a female hairdresser from the North East, aged under 30 and earning between £10,000 and £15,000 a year.

Beauty therapists, people who work with young children and plumbers were the next happiest workers.

Sussex University graduate Simon Atkin, 26, said: "It's easy to get low-paid work in Brighton but there aren't very many jobs with prospects around.

"There are loads of call-centres in the city, full of people who are over-qualified for the work, but just can't find a decent job elsewhere."

Gill Edinburgh, director of human resources at Sussex Enterprise, said: "The key issue regarding 'happiness' is that employees that engage most with their employers feel they are doing something worthwhile and that they have some control over what they do.

"Therefore, my advice to employers is: think about how you engage with your employees - how much control do they have over the job they do? How involved can they be in establishing work practices or in helping assess changes to their roles? How in control do they feel in terms of their ability to do the job? How relevant is the training they receive?

"Employers who aim to keep staff happy just by giving them unsuitable training are doomed to spend lots of money without getting any return for their investment."

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