What Brits really think about work

Date: 11 June 2019

A female employee considers what matters the most at work

A new study has found that attitudes to work are shifting as millennials increasingly focus on their work/life balance.

A survey of 2,000 UK workers by YouGov for online recruitment platform Indeed has found that work/life balance is considered more important than most other key aspects of work. It was cited as an important factor by 55% of those polled, followed by job security (45%) colleagues (40%) length and convenience of the commute (34%), financial benefits such as a pension (20%) and the culture of the organisation in which people work (12%).

However, the results show that pay is still the number one concern for more than half of UK workers - 57% of those polled said their salary was the most important factor in their work. At the same time, 31% of UK workers said they are dissatisfied with their current level of pay and 52% of employees said they would consider leaving their current role if their pay didn't increase in the next one to two years.

The Indeed report, The Meaning of Work, has also uncovered changing attitudes to work on issues such as flexible working and pay transparency. For instance, the findings show that 74% of the UK workforce believe they could do their job to the same standard in four days as they do in five. Support for a four-day working week rises to 79% among millennials (23-38 year-olds).

In addition, those UK workers who prioritise work/life balance said they would be happy earning less for the right job. When asked what salary they would need to earn to ensure happiness, the average answer was £51,000. However, those who prioritise work/life balance said they needed to earn around £49,000 to be happy, while those who did not required £55,000.

Pay transparency has also emerged as an important issue for the majority of workers, with 56% saying they would like to see every worker's full pay made transparent and available to all; only 33% opposed pay transparency. According to the report, this represents a marked shift in favour of pay transparency from previous studies, partly driven by millennials who are the age group most enthusiastic about the idea (59%).

The report concludes that "The survey sends a strong signal to employers struggling to attract and retain employees in today's competitive labour market, as well as to policy-makers looking to ensure that Britain's jobs boom satisfies the expectations of today's workforce. Employers who want to attract and retain the best staff will need to take an imaginative and flexible approach to how they organise their people."

Written by Rachel Miller.

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