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Job security, freedom more 'important' than salary

By Miranda Smith

Having a job is more important to people than how much they are paid, British nationals feel, according to a survey by the country’s Office for National Statistics.

The results reflect the first tranche of public response to the question "What matters to you?"

Over 2,000 people have joined the debate on how to measure national well-being, which aims to provide a fuller picture of 'how society is doing' than is given by traditional economic indicators, the ONS said in a statement.

Understanding the economic performance of a country is important, but there is a need to look at broader measures, 'quality-of-life' indicators and the impact progress has on the environment when assessing national well-being.

Job security, as well as relationships with families and their health have topped the list with 88 per cent of respondents stating that these things matter most to them in life.

"The most relevant measures of well-being should encompass the elements of life that matter to people most. Objective measures such as crime, employment and life expectancy rates will be combined with subjective measures such as fear of crime, job-satisfaction and self-reported health, to give a more complete picture of national well-being," said Paul Allin, Director of the measuring national well-being programme at ONS.

He said there were a few interesting themes of what matters to people, including:

* Their children's future - people are more interested in their children having a better life and a nice place to live

* Job security, not just wealth

* Health

* Freedom of society

* Spiritual and religious beliefs

"We want to encourage people to tell us what matters to them. The more responses we have to the debate, the more realistic a picture of the UK we will have,” Allin added.

The debate will run until April 2011.