Pay rise or happier job?

According to a new survey, over half (54 percent) of UK full-time employees have taken a pay cut to accept a job that made them happier*.

Wrike’s Happiness Index polled 4,000 workers in the US, UK, Germany, and France. It found that, in addition to accepting less money in exchange for happiness, UK adults were also largely uninterested in perks. When asked what the most important benefit in relation to happiness at work was, over a third (34 percent) said they don’t care about perks.

Patricia DuChene, GM EMEA at Wrike, said,

The results of Wrike’s Happiness Index suggest that work perks should be replaced by measures that increase happiness, productivity, and flexibility. Measures include working from home and flexible hours. The fact that over half of the UK is willing to take a pay cut in exchange for happiness shows how priorities have changed. It should also serve as a wake-up call for employers – if your staff isn’t happy, they will go elsewhere, no matter how good their salaries are.

The Wrike Happiness Index also indicates that Britain may be ready for a 4-day working week, as was recently discussed by the Trades Union Congress. Nearly half (49 percent) said that they would be more focused and productive if they worked for four days a week and over a quarter (28 percent) said they could do their job as effectively in that time, on the basis that their company invested in the right technology, including Collaborative Work Management tools.

Patricia DuChene added,

The growing interest in a 4-day work week underscores the need for greater work flexibility. The traditional 9-to-5 is no longer realistic with today’s digital work, but that doesn’t mean people should have to sacrifice life-work balance. Companies that provide their employees with technology that enables more efficient processes and increased productivity will be able to offer the kind of flexibility and balance people are truly looking for and, in turn, will reap the benefits of having a happier workforce.

Additional key findings: Globally, more men (50 percent) had taken a pay cut to accept a job that made them happier by comparison to women (37 percent). When asked which reward they would pick if they were given the choice, the most popular choice for UK adults was a gift card (38 percent), followed by going home early (26 percent). Globally, more than one-quarter (28 percent) said the most important perk in relation to their happiness at work is more or unlimited paid holiday time.

*Commissioned by Wrike, this survey was conducted in the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Germany, and resulted in at least 1,000 respondents in each country.


Interested to find out about new work patterns?  We recommend Optimizing Performance through Organisation Design training day and Future of Work Summit 2019.







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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