Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Overworked, undervalued and underpaid – Britain’s workforce is on the move in 2016

Nearly half of the UK workforce will be looking for new jobs in 2016, with one in 5 workers already actively job hunting, according to new research from Investors in People.

  • 49% of people looking to move jobs as the economy improves
  • Workers cite poor management and not feeling valued as reasons to move
  • ‘Better pay’ drops to third place in ‘unhappiness factors’

The findings are highlighted in a new report “Job Exodus Trends 2016” which shows that one in 5 employees across the country are complaining of high workloads (19%), nearly a quarter are concerned by a lack of career progression (23%) and over a quarter are unhappy with their levels of pay (27%), prompting a potential mass exodus.

In fact, nearly a third of employees say they are miserable in their jobs – due to a combination of poor management (43%) and not feeling valued (39%).

Unsatisfactory pay was the 3rd reason as to why employees were unhappy in their current roles (38% of respondents cited this). But getting a payrise would not solve the problem of being badly managed or feeling undervalued. Pay is important to employees but it’s clear that it’s not the only answer.

The survey asked respondents to choose between two scenarios – a 3% payrise, in line with recent UK increases, or a different non-remuneration benefit:

a third (34%) of employees said they would prefer a more flexible approach to working hours than a 3% payrise
nearly a third (28%) said they would rather have a clear career progression route
a quarter (24%) would rather their employer invested in their training and development more
Paul Devoy, Head of Investors in People said: “Improved salaries over recent months means that pay is less of a gripe for UK workers. But longstanding issues around poor management and how valued people feel in their work continue to make UK workers miserable.  We know that bad leadership alone costs the UK £39 billion a year*. If employers addressed these factors, they would have a more committed workforce and far fewer resources tied up in constant recruitment drives.

“As the economy improves, many employers run the risk of losing their valuable, skilled staff.”

Simple actions can make all the difference.  When asked what one thing their employer could do to increase their happiness in their current role, one in 8 (13%) just wanted to be told ‘thank you’ more, nearly 1 in 10 (9%) would prefer more flexible working hours and 1 in 16 (6%) simply wanted more clarity on what their career progression options are.

Career progression was of particular concern to younger workers. Over a quarter (26%) of 18-24 year olds said they felt they had no clear career progression in their current role.

Paul continued: “Small things can make a big difference. Feeling valued, understanding their role in the organisation and how they can grow with an organisation are all big concerns for UK workers.  Saying thank you, involving employees in decisions and giving them responsibility over their work are basic ways to make staff happier, and more likely to stay.  Employers also win, with a more committed workforce, higher retention and a clearer view of the future.”

*The Impact of Investing in People report, Investors in People, October 2015