Bath university has analysed a survey for Whitehall of 22,500 British workers, including over 800 primary and secondary teachers.
Since 1999, school, college and university teachers have climbed from 54th to 11th in the job satisfaction ranking of 81 occupations.
Special needs teachers rank highest, behind only corporate managers, hairdressers, health managers and undertakers. Primary teachers are a couple of places further back, citing satisfaction with their work, achievements and, yes, pay. Secondary teachers, too, are happy about their job security and influence.
College lecturers, who are relatively poorly paid, are less happy.
Michael Rose, research professor at Bath university, said teachers had always taken pride in making a difference. "It looks to me as if material satisfaction is the biggest factor in their improved morale," he said.
Kevin Brennan, education minister, said: "Teaching is once again a career of choice for young people."