Two-thirds of Britons happy with jobs, says survey

More than two-thirds of Britons are happy with their job and their pay is less important to them than contentment in the workplace, according to a new report by an independent research team.

The Work Foundation's report, 'Joy of work?', which surveyed 1,000 people in assessing the quality of the UK’s work/life balance, found that more than 70% felt that "life is good". An even higher proportion – over three quarters – felt they were happy with their life and 80% were satisfied with their life, the report found.

Nearly 50% of those surveyed were very satisfied with their pay and 60% very satisfied with the hours they work. Surprisingly, four-in-10 workers believed that their most important relationships were at work.

The survey indicated that more than two million people are workophiles, preferring work to home; and most workophiles are in higher income brackets and probably not bringing up children, the report found.

On the downside, more than four million people – 15% of the workforce – were found to be dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their jobs. The effects of such dissatisfaction result in higher rates of absence, higher rates of turnover, lower levels of customer satisfaction and lower levels of productivity. This is bad news for UK organisations and bad news for UK plc, the report authors said.

Nick Isles, the report’s author, said: “On the whole work works. The majority of UK workers are reasonably happy with their lot and happy in their work. However a third of British workers are at best neutral about their job and at worst very dissatisfied. And this does not include the economically inactive who are marginalized from the economic benefits of a near full employment economy and too often excluded from other facets of the ‘good life’ – like decent housing, access to credit, and access to good public services."

However, the Work Foundation highlighted low pay as a serious issue that needed to be addressed. Over 400,000 workers are "genuine wage slaves" earning less than £16,000 a year for working more than 60 hours a week. Those earning less than £16,000 per annum are nearly six times as likely to fear the sack if they do not put in the time as those on more than £41,000 per annum.

“It should not be possible for people to work more than 60 hours a week and be paid less than £11,000 a year. The government needs to strengthen the mechanisms for inspecting and reporting bad practice in this area,” Mr Isles said.


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