Comparing salaries makes you unhappy

We would like to know what other people earn. Income is a popular topic, mainly among men. If it turns out that someone else earns more, most people feel more unhappy. European research by the Ecole de l’Economie in Paris has shown that comparing salaries makes employees unhappy. Three out of four respondents feel the need to compare salaries. However, the comparing people are left with a bad feeling about it. People appear to be quite concerned about friends and family members earning more. They find it easier to pass over colleagues who earn more than they do to family members. It is mainly the less wealthy employees who have a bad feeling after comparing. Comparing even more will make them feel even more unhappy.

How much does my colleague earn?

Employees are not really curious about what their direct colleagues earn. They know approximately this. There is also some reluctance in the workplace to say how much someone earns. It is easier to say which pay scale someone is in. Based on this, it is easy to determine approximately how much someone earns. The structure of the salary scale is often based on the number of years of service and there is a minimum and a maximum for the scale. We are more curious about the income of executives. This person will not want to talk about it to avoid spilling the beans.

Income in government positions

You can easily find out how much civil servants earn in certain positions. You can consult the salaries of civil servants on the government website ( These are of course indicative amounts. A lot of attention is paid to the income of people who are employed by the government. Directors of public companies should not earn more than the Prime Minister of the Netherlands. Yet it often appears that a higher income is reserved for certain people. Certain crucial roles are reserved for certain top people who come from the business world. To attract these people, public companies have to dig deep into their pockets.

Politicians choose business

Certain politicians have a job that requires them to invest a lot of time. This especially applies to political leaders in the months before the elections. A sixty-hour working week will be standard rather than an exception. Even outside the elections, forty hours a week will not be enough. Compared to the business community, the income of politicians in top positions lags behind. Ministers and MPs will also be in demand on the labor market after an active career in politics. This especially applies to political leaders. They will be able to demand higher salaries in the private sector. The business community would like to make use of the knowledge and connections of these people.

High salary does not make you happy

Employees in top positions in companies generally do not have an easy existence. They have to work long hours and family life sometimes takes a back seat as a result. In addition, they also feel a lot of pressure from their job. They deal with a lot of stress and are ultimately responsible for the company’s policy. It is better to have a job that you really like and that you can close your mind at night. Lying awake at night worrying isn’t worth the extra money.