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

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.

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%).

For the North West in particular, long hours and uncertain futures are causing misery for workers in the area. One in 5 workers are complaining of high workloads (17%) and over a quarter (27%) are concerned by a lack of career progression, with similar results in Yorkshire.

Unsatisfactory pay was the 3rd overall reason for UK workers being 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.”


You can download the full Job Exodus 2016 Report here to explore more of the results. If you would like to find out more about Investors in People and how it can support your organisation’s ambitions and people, click here or come along to one of our introductory workshops.