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What’s fuelling disengagement across the transport sector?

New insights from Inpulse, experts in employee engagement, reveal high levels of distrust among transportation workers alongside industrial action and travel disruptions. The data shows that 51% of employees in this industry don’t feel they will be listened to by their employers while nearly 1 in 3 feels unappreciated.

Alongside industrial action and travel disruptions, engagement data shows that more than half of transport workers (51%) don’t feel they will be listened to by their employers, revealing high levels of distrust.

The data* shows the emotions of employees from more than 20 companies across rail, airline and bus services; it includes over 70,000 responses.

The Inpulse insights also show decreasing levels of workplace satisfaction. The percentage of transport workers who would recommend their jobs to others has fallen by a quarter – from 69% in 2021 to 52% in 2022.

Matt Stephens, Founder and CEO at Inpulse, said: “The entire travel sector is in turmoil – it’s a difficult industry to be in. Whilst the public are seeing some of the consequences of the issues very clearly with national strikes, transport cancellations and delays – these are being exacerbated by internal issues caused by how employees are feeling within their companies.

“This could be seen as a double blast to employees. It’s well reported that they are not happy with pay, conditions, staff shortages and future job prospects but on top of this, they have to manage feelings that their concerns are not being recognised by their leaders either. We’ve heard it described that many were seen as heroes during the pandemic, yet now they feel zeros.”

On average, engagement levels and positive emotions experienced by transport workers (such as committed, motivated, valued) are lower than other industries too.

Nearly 1 in 3 (29%) transportation workers feel unappreciated, compared to 17% of workers in other industries who feel this way. At the same time, a third (33%) of workers outside of transport sectors experience predominantly negative emotions at work (.e.g stressed, fearful, disappointed), but this rises to more than 4 in ten (42%) employees in transportation companies.

The data also reveals that transportation workers are also more likely to doubt they will receive feedback from management when sharing their views: nearly 4 in ten (38%) don’t feel they will receive feedback, compared to just 28% of workers across other industries.

Stephens added: “Though there are strong desires to solve issues and minimise disruptions across the transport industry, problems for workers run deeper than just wanting more pay. At its most basic level, it’s about emotional connection and a feeling of losing, not just their pay rise, but trust in their leaders and passion for their role as it begins to change.

“General consensus shows that transport workers often believe their opinions don’t matter, they will not be listened to nor receive feedback from leadership. Until these emotions are dealt with, any gains made over the next few weeks or months may bring some concessions but are unlikely to resolve all of the underlying problems.”


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