Half of all UK employees can recall something happening in the past month that has made them feel less positive about their working lives. Examples include pay cuts, bullying, harassment, workplace stress, and even sexual assault. Contributor Mark Scanlon, Chief Executive Officer – Personal Group.
Research published today by employee benefits provider Personal Group, shows that 56 percent of all people surveyed are not happy in the workplace. The research is part of Personal Group’s Hapi survey, which used social media to ask 1274 UK employees about their happiness at work. The results paint a clear picture of the state of happiness in UK workplace.
According to the results, both efficiency and enthusiasm are down. The number of senior managers and department heads reporting that they never or rarely feel they are working as efficiently as possible has almost doubled since 2017. With UK productivity levels falling this could be another red flag for the economy.
Enthusiasm for work has decreased across all respondent groups in the past 12 months, but the largest drop is amongst male workers. In 2017, half of male employees were enthusiastic about their work often or most of the time, only 35 percent share the same level of enthusiasm this year.
The Hapi survey results were also benchmarked against responses from approximately 41,000 employees working for engagement-orientated businesses (those businesses actively investing in employee engagement initiatives).
Overall levels of employee pride, enthusiasm and keenness to get to work in the morning actually increased slightly at engagement-orientated businesses between 2017 and 2018, whereas respondents to the employer agnostic Hapi survey were shown to feel much more negatively towards their work and working lives across all metrics.
Mark Scanlon, Chief Executive Officer at Personal Group said: “The results are staggering. Unhappiness, dissatisfaction, lack of pride in our work and a loss of enthusiasm are having a profound impact of employees across the UK. Much more must be done to tackle unhappiness in the workplace and to ensure employees feel valued, appreciated and safe in the workplace. There is significant proof that employees of businesses which have employee engagement initiatives implemented are more motivated and enthused in the workplace.
“As a country we need re-focus our efforts and do more to drive happiness in the workplace. Front line workers are the engine of the UK economy, and if we can more to engage and excite these workers, the results could be phenomenal. The general decline of happiness at work could go some way to explain the UK productivity gap.”
Key highlights include: Happiness in the workplace; More than half of frontline employees (54 percent) are rarely or almost never keen to get to work in the morning; 18-29 year olds are the unhappiest employees with over half (52 percent) rarely or almost never happy at work – a huge change from 2017 (20 percent).
The story isn’t much better for 30-49 year olds, with almost half (49 percent) rarely or almost never happy at work. Over 50s are still the happiest group of employees, but even their happiness levels have dropped significantly since last year. In 2017, 84 percent were happy at work at least some of the time (with 61 percent happy at work most of the time) but in 2018 this has dropped to 64 percent and 40 percent respectively. The self-employed are still the happiest workers, with 87 percent happy at least some of the time – only a slight dip from the 2017 results of 92 percent.
Enthusiastic about your job
Senior managers and department heads saw the biggest drop in enthusiasm for their jobs, with those rarely or never enthusiastic about their job increasing to 23 percent (2017: 13 percent). Frontline staff are still the least enthusiastic about their jobs, with a third never or rarely feeling enthused
Proud of what you do
Pride in our work appears to increase with age – reflected in both the 2017 and 2018 survey results. Pride in our work also increases with seniority, with 77 percent of company owners and directors feel proud of what they do most of the time versus only 48 percent of frontline staff
Working as efficiently as possible
The number of senior managers, department heads, company owners and directors who never or rarely feel like they are working as efficiently as possible has increased. The number of senior managers and department heads who report never or rarely working as efficiently as possible has almost doubled since 2017 (moving from 16 percent in 2017 to 30 percent in 2018)
In the last month has anything happened to make you feel more positive about your working life? Only one in four UK employees can recall something from the last month that has made them feel more positive about their working life – a drop from one in three last year
In this year’s survey only 17 percent of company owners or directors could recall something from the last month that made them feel more positive about their working life (2017: 50 percent)
In the last month has anything happened to make you feel less positive about your working life? Half of all UK employees can recall something happening in the past month that has made them feel less positive about working life. Examples included pay cuts, bullying, harassment, workplace stress and sexual assault. A staggering 59 percent of managers and team leaders recalled incidents from the last month which made them feel less positive about working life.