More than one-half of U.K. employees unhappy at work: Survey

Many considering leaving their jobs
||Last Updated: 07/12/2011

More than one-half of Britain’s employees are unhappy at work, with one-third seriously considering leaving their jobs, according to new research by Mercer.

Only 61 per cent of employees said their work gives them a feeling of personal accomplishment, compared to 70 per cent four years ago, while commitment to their company has declined from 59 per cent to 52 per cent, according to Mercer’s What’s Working survey of 2,400 workers in the United Kingdom.

Just 55 per cent feel proud to work for their organization compared to 60 per cent in 2006.

“During the recession, many employees have faced a mix of pay freezes, training and benefit cuts, and limited promotion opportunities — and have often absorbed extra workloads due to redundancy programs,” said Chris Johnson, U.K. head of human capital at Mercer. “Many are still feeling vulnerable and generally unhappy with their lot.”

The research shows that 36 per cent of U.K. workers are now seriously considering leaving their jobs, including 40 per cent of those in the age group 25 to 34 and 36 per cent of those aged 35 to 45. Additionally, 41 per cent of managers are seriously considering a move, including 53 per cent of senior managers, compared to 33 per cent of non-managers, found the survey.

“Employers should be concerned at the potential loss of many key employees with the skills and experience that they have invested in and who are needed to drive their company recovery plans,” said Johnson.

“Those who are engaged and who feel better about their employer and themselves are the people who can drive their employer's success as the economy recovers. The problem is that these are the employees who are wanting to move.”

The good news for employers is that a significant proportion of employees (64 per cent) are not seriously considering a move and amongst this group, 41 per cent are committed to their organization. The remaining 23 per cent are feeling indifferent.

Employers should take an objective view of their employee offering and review their package of rewards, career development and learning opportunities. But they should also recognize it’s important to look at the qualitative aspects of work: fairness, respect and recognition, work-life balance and effective communication to retain key talent, said Mercer.

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