Workforce happiness overshadowed by over-worked managers and under-supported staff

Workforce happiness overshadowed by over-worked managers and under-supported staff


CIPD’s first comprehensive measure of job quality in the UK reveals that two-thirds of workers are satisfied with their jobs overall.

The ‘Working Lives’ survey, a new, in-depth annual initiative, sets out to assess job quality in seven dimensions gathered from widespread research and measures how important each one is to people at work.

While 64% are satisfied overall, 18% are dissatisfied and 11% report feeling miserable at work regularly.

25% feel that their job has a negative impact on their mental health and 30% say their workload is too much.

Combining previous research with a sample survey of 6,000 representing the entire UK workforce, the survey comes in the wake of the Government’s commitment to measure job quality at all levels, sectors and regions.

The results show that, overall, satisfaction with work and jobs is reasonable. However, significant numbers feel differently and there are indications of major systemic issues with overwork, stress and lack of training and development.   

The survey also identifies key challenges: those stuck in low level jobs are less likely to have access to training and development, while middle management feel significantly squeezed by workload.

28% of senior leaders say their job makes it difficult to fulfil personal commitments, while 27% of workers (or 43% of unskilled and casual workers) don’t believe they are given the opportunities to develop their skills. 37% of those in low-skilled jobs say they haven’t received any training in the last year.

For those stuck in low-skilled jobs, employers and the Government must not only continue to support skills development, but focus on the nature and design of jobs that get the best out of people and their potential.

Squeezed middle managers, whose overwork is affecting their mental health and general wellbeing, can be helped by overcoming cultures of ‘presentee-ism’ and encouraging more flexible working.  

However, senior leaders are the most satisfied and feel less pressured than middle managers. And while people at this level feel that work/life balance is an issue, they are also the group who have most access to flexible working – 60% have the option to work from home.

The CIPD believes that organisations looking for the first step in improving the quality of their own jobs should look at well-being as a starting point. Organisations also have to recognise that stress in the workplace typically flows down the business. Managing stress and better work-life balance from the top down is vital to healthy organisations and a culture of good work.

Peter Cheese, Chief Executive of the CIPD, said “Those in management positions are often overworked, which can not only lead to stress and poor mental health, but also means they are not able to manage their teams to the best of their ability. Stress in the workplace passes down, and combined with the concerning lack of training and development opportunities for those in low-skilled work, is a heady mix which needs to be better understood and addressed to enable better productivity and well-being across all organisations.

“With employment levels high, challenges remain around productivity, and so organisations have to prioritise working smarter, not just harder. We need to ensure that we’re designing our jobs flexibly and in ways that best utilise the skills of the workforce, implementing positive health and well-being strategies, and tackling workplace cultures of stress and giving voice and support to our people. Alongside that, we need to give those looking to develop their skills the ability to do so, through workplace learning and wider investment in skills development to make sure we’re making the most of all the talent that people have.”

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

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