A new study conducted by the global hiring platform Indeed reveals that a substantial 65 percent of UK workers would be willing to accept a reduced salary for an improved job overall.

The study, part of the Better Work 2023 report, surveyed over 5,000 workers, unveiling a strong desire for greater flexibility and a shorter workweek as the key factors driving this trend.

The survey found that a four-day workweek (28%), a better work-life balance (25%), and more flexible working opportunities (17%) were the most significant motivators for Brits to consider taking a pay cut.

On average, respondents were prepared to accept a pay cut of 9.2 percent. With the average UK worker’s salary standing at £33,000, this means that the average worker is willing to sacrifice £3,036 per annum in exchange for a better job.

The study highlights that flexibility extends beyond where employees work, emphasising the importance of when they work.

Flexible hours demonstrate progressive organisations

Flexible hours were deemed a top indicator of a progressive company by 41 percent of those surveyed, ranking higher than remote and hybrid work (30%), and well above other social and environmental factors such as more inclusive hiring (13%), company-wide usage of pronouns (9%), and B Corp Certifications (6%).

A remarkable 33 percent of respondents believe that flexible hours being the default is the future of better work. Furthermore, the research revealed a clear demand for condensed work hours, with 28 percent of respondents believing that the future of better work involves working fewer hours while improving productivity. Meanwhile, 31 percent of those surveyed felt that they could already accomplish in four days what they previously achieved in five.

Data from Indeed indicates that an increasing number of employers are offering a four-day workweek. Although less than 1 percent (0.8%) of job postings on Indeed mention a four-day workweek, this figure has risen by 166 percent since 2018 when it was at just 0.3 percent.

Who wants flexibility the most?

The demand for flexibility is driven by various demographics, with women (63%) placing a higher importance on flexible working opportunities than men (57%), and workers from ethnic minority backgrounds (67%) expressing a greater need for flexible work options compared to white respondents (59%).

Fair pay (39%), flexible hours (36%), and job security (31%) were identified as the top reasons why 89% of UK workers considered their jobs to be “good.” Only 24 percent of respondents cited the location of their work as a contributing factor. Interestingly, fully remote workers appeared to be the least satisfied with their jobs, with 17 percent believing that their work wasn’t “good.”

While 14 percent of UK workers identified more remote working opportunities as a factor that would make their next job better than their current one, ethnic minority workers prioritised their company being diverse and inclusive (30%) over job security (24%). In contrast, only 20 percent of white respondents considered being part of a diverse and inclusive company as a top reason for job satisfaction, with 32 percent valuing job security and the social element of their job more (24%).

What about job satisfaction?

The study also examined job satisfaction by occupation, revealing that engineering and architecture workers had the highest job satisfaction, with 95 percent of them considering their work to be good. On the other hand, retail workers were the least content (82%), followed by those in manufacturing and utilities (83%). Interestingly, workers in large companies with over 500 employees were least likely to believe they had a good job (85%).

Danny Stacy, UK Head of Talent Intelligence at Indeed, commented, “While everyone will define good work differently, our research shows that flexibility is a key driver of job satisfaction. As more businesses begin a full or partial return to the office, the findings show that employers who create flexible working policies may be better able to attract and retain workers.”

He continued, “Flexibility at work is evolving beyond where an employee logs on, and our research shows that policies like flexible hours or a four-day workweek are becoming increasingly important to workers. The research underscores that for a business to be viewed as progressive by workers and jobseekers, flexibility is a defining factor.”





Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.