Over half British workers don't feel motivated at work

Almost a third (31 per cent) of UK professionals state that their expectations are ‘not being met at all’ by their current employer, whilst a further 24 per cent state that their needs are only just ‘moderately’ being met.

The dissatisfaction was most prominent in the Wales (70 per cent), South West (68 per cent), Scotland (67 per cent), Yorkshire & Humber (64 per cent), and West Midlands (60 per cent) – where workers claim that employers were falling short of meeting their professional and personal aspirations.

Industries with the least satisfied employees are in Secretarial & Business Support (47 per cent), Retail (34 per cent), Manufacturing & Engineering (34 per cent), and Health (32 per cent).  The findings come from recent research,  Meeting demands through the job offering*.

Chris Hickey, CEO at Robert Walters said,

With Brexit on the horizon and a challenging time ahead, it is important now more than ever that employers retain top talent – central to this is keeping staff happy and motivated.

Given that 55per cent of professionals claim that their employer is failing to meet their career expectations, it is concerning how slow companies are to act towards better understanding their employees’ needs.

Salary Biggest Motivator

Salary continues to be the biggest driver for the nation’s workforce – with almost two thirds (62 per cent) stating that this is the most important factor in a job offering.
This was particularly prevalent in London, where almost three quarters (69 per cent) – more than the national average – stated that salary was the most important factor in a job offer. In contrast, only a third of employees in the North East stated this as important to them. Employees in traditional professional industries placed the biggest focus on pay, with those in Legal (76 per cent), Banking & Financial Services (75per cent), Account & Finance (66 per cent), HR (69 per cent), and Technology & IT (65 per cent) stating that salary was their biggest motivator. This was not the case for employees within the service industries, where only a third stated that salary was important to them – Education (35 per cent), Retail (36 per cent), and Healthcare (39 per cent).

Importance of Soft Benefits

Soft benefits are increasingly playing a more prominent role in keeping employees happy, with many claiming that work-life balance (61 per cent), flexible working hours (39 per cent), and cultural fit (25 per cent) are crucial to keeping them happy at work. In fact, over a third (36 per cent) stated that they would move roles if it offered a better lifestyle, followed by 31 per cent who would move for a better career opportunity.  Desire for a better lifestyle was most sought after by professionals in Yorkshire & Humber (50 per cent), North West (42 per cent), East of England (40 per cent), and Scotland (38 per cent) – who all listed this as the main reason they would move job roles or location.

Contracting & Temp Work on the Rise

It seems dissatisfaction is pushing the UK workforce to consider alternative career paths. Almost half (40 per cent) of UK workers would consider working in a temporary, interim or contract position in order to meet their personal and professional needs – this was most prevalent in Technology & IT (4 8per cent), Procurement & Supply Chain (46 per cent), and Banking & Financial Services (45 per cent). For professional industries (41 per cent) – such as Banking & Financial Services, Legal, and Tech & IT –‘ higher hourly pay’ was the leading reason why employees would consider contracting. For the creative industries (36 per cent) – such as Marketing, Advertising and PR – ‘more flexibility’ was the leading reason why employees would consider contracting or interim work. Professionals in the service sector (30per cent) – such as Education and Retail – considered contract work as an opportunity to ‘learn new skills’.  Employees in people-focused roles (25 per cent) – such as HR, Healthcare, and Secretarial & Business Support – saw interim and temp work as an opportunity to ‘gain experience across a variety of industries’.

*research undertaken by recruiter Robert Walters and job board CV-Library






Aphrodite is a creative writer and editor specialising in publishing and communications. She is passionate about undertaking projects in diverse sectors. She has written and edited copy for media as varied as social enterprise, art, fashion and education. She is at her most happy owning a project from its very conception, focusing on the client and project research in the first instance, and working closely with CEOs and Directors throughout the consultation process. Much of her work has focused on rebranding; messaging and tone of voice is one of her expertise, as is a distinctively unique writing style in my most of her creative projects. Her work is always driven by the versatility of language to galvanise image and to change perception, as it is by inspiring and being inspired by the wondrous diversity of people with whom paths she crosses cross!

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