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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Men in Britain are less engaged in their work compared with women until the final years of employment when they get a late surge of enthusiasm, according to a survey.
Men start off their careers at a much lower level of job satisfaction than women, only catching up shortly before they give up the commute and pick up their pension.
"One line of theory which I would like to look at more is that men have the Protestant ethic of going out to work to make money and not to enjoy it," Simon Easton, co-author of the report, told Reuters.
Women's engagement starts high, before dipping mid-career and then bouncing back, again shortly before retirement.
The research carried out by Easton and Darren Van Laar, of the University of Portsmouth's psychology department and spin-out company QoWL, did not look into why there were changes in enthusiasm or explain the differences between the attitudes of men and women.
But the pair said the research should encourage employers to hang on to older, more experienced workers who are generally more "engaged."
It comes at a time when the British government is looking to speed up plans to raise retirement ages in a bid to rein in a record peacetime budget deficit.
Van Laar also said the findings suggested employers could increase employee retention, get higher productivity and reduce absenteeism if they found ways to increase young men's engagement and satisfaction in the workplace.
Employers could also try to better understand why women lose engagement at work mid-career, he said.
The research quizzed 4,000 people at nine large educational organizations including academics, managers and cleaners as part of wider research into the quality of working life.
Writing by Avril Ormsby; Editing by Steve Addison