November 07 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

Satisfaction at work in the UK rises

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Satisfaction at work among UK employees is rising, according to the latest report from Randstad.

After years of slow wage growth and a tough economic climate that put many workers off looking for jobs, satisfaction has been waning among the UK’s workforce. But as the latest study from Randstad shows, employees are more fulfilled than they have been in the past 18 months, and they’re overtaking their counterparts in many European nations.

Getting satisfaction

According to the most recent Fulfilment@Work report from the global recruitment company, some 69 per cent of British workers, or more than 21 million people, said they were satisfied with their current employers in the third quarter of this year. That’s a major improvement from the beginning of 2010, when 62 per cent said the same while the UK was in the depths of the financial crisis.

The data shows that satisfaction is actually highest in Wales among UK regions, with 78 per cent of staff describing themselves as fulfilled, while the West Midlands came in close behind at 75 per cent. On the other hand, the north-east was less engaged at work, with satisfaction standing at just 50 per cent. Interestingly, it was employees in the property sector who reported the highest levels of satisfaction by industry, with an impressive showing of 84 per cent.

Brighter outlook

Mark Bull, Randstad UK chief executive, says that in an era of flat pay increases, satisfaction is unlikely to be linked to the salaries on offer. Instead, it’s more likely to be a product of rising employment and a better labour market: people had fewer opportunities to pursue careers or their interests when the employment landscape was bleaker. Now it’s improving, people are in a better position to progress.

“Industries of critical importance to the UK such as construction and manufacturing are firing on all cylinders. The financial services industry is back on its feet and demand for accountants is through the roof. There is a massive shortage of developers and project managers in the tech sector,” Mr Bull explains.

“People are now moving to jobs where they are happier – they have options again and that’s reflected in how satisfied they are in their new roles. These results are a reflection of the fact the country has emerged from the shadow of the recession.”

Global comparisons

At the beginning of 2010, the UK had the least fulfilled workforce among the EU’s four largest economies. According to the new data, British employees are now more fulfilled than their French and Italian peers, although they are yet to catch up to Germany’s workers. Some 71 per cent of German workers said they were satisfied with their employer at the moment – but even so, the UK is snapping at its rival’s heels.

The UK saw the biggest leap in fulfilment among all 19 nations surveyed, which means that it is finally catching up with other so-called “Anglosphere” nations New Zealand, Canada, Australia and the US.  The average satisfaction across the Anglosphere stands at 72 per cent, with Canada leading the pack – however, levels of fulfilment also fell there by seven per cent. Britain may catch up sooner than we thought.

Thiago Kiwi

Thiago is the LSBF Blog Editor who manages news and features content on the site, and writes about business, finance, technology, education and careers.

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