Written by Joanna Hughes

The quest for a fulfilling job is one that drives many of us. Now comes research from LinkedIn indicating the key to career satisfaction may rest with one thing: spending time learning at work. Here’s a closer look at the study, including other key findings relevant to job enjoyment.

Learn More, Be Happier?

According to the findings, employees who incorporate learning into the work day experience less stress, more feelings of productivity and success, increased readiness to take on additional responsibilities, and greater likeliness of feeling confident and happy. The conclusion? “The more you learn, the happier you become,” according to global industry analyst Josh Bersin.

Other Key Findings

Along with underscoring the importance of lifelong learning, the data reveals other key findings, including that today’s workers are most inspired by the work itself and chances to grow; factors like money, travel, and supervision were negligible when compared to these aspects.

It follows that lack of opportunities to learn and grow in a job are a primary cause of turnover -- more important than raises and relationships. “The learning curve is the earning curve,” contends Bersin.

This isn't to say, however, that learning on the job is easy. For starters, for many workers, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day: Nearly a quarter of workers log more than 50 hours a week, while two-thirds work more than the “average” 40. Factor in time wasted on emails that don’t help them do their jobs, and there’s even less time for workers to devote to meaningful learning.

Despite these obstacles, many professionals make time to learn with seven percent of the 2,000-plus people surveyed reporting that they spend more than five hours a week on learning-related activities, while just under half spend between one and five hours per week learning. The best part? The flexibility of online classes and other non-conventional delivery modes make learning easier and more convenient than ever. 

And while those in the 'heavy learners' category reaped the largest gains across everything from confidence to feelings of purpose, those in the 'medium' and 'light' learners categories also saw benefits.

But it’s not just the employees who should care about learning on the job, either. Their employers should, too. Of recent MIT and Deloitte findings, Bersin said, “The most successful, fast-growing, digitally enabled companies are differentiated by one thing: they've transformed the way individuals and organizations learn."

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.
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