A survey on the latest trends in job market sentiments and employee expectations by leading recruitment agency Randstad, reveals that employees in the UK are working harder than ever with 40% finding it difficult to fit in enough time off.

The Randstad quarterly workmonitor survey has found that around two-thirds (67%) of UK workers believe that their workload increased in the second quarter of 2010, suggesting that staff need a break more than ever. Yet 40% believe that their workload does not allow them to take the amount of time off they would like and that fitting in holidays with colleagues is getting harder. With 63% of workers feeling they have to work harder when colleagues are away.

Even when they do go on holiday, workers find it difficult to switch off. The workmonitor survey found that nearly half of UK employees think a lot about work when they are away, while 43% receive questions and emails from colleagues during their break. The majority (61%) find that work has stacked up while they are on holiday and they are therefore busier when they get back.

Ruth Jacobs, Operations Director for Randstad Staffing, said: “Our survey indicates that taking a proper break is getting harder and productivity is suffering as a result. Flex cover over the holiday period would enable companies to meet deadlines and prevent colleagues from taking the strain of their co-workers being away, while allowing staff to enjoy their full allocation of leave and come back refreshed.”

Contentment rises the more we work

The workmonitor survey surprisingly revealed, the longer we toil, the better we feel. Of the people surveyed who work more than 40 hours per week, 65% are satisfied. Satisfaction dips the fewer hours that are worked – of the people who work 25-32 hours, 55% are satisfied.

Public sector job fears rise, while private sector concerns fall

Job losses among public sector workers rose in the second quarter of 2010, but is still some way behind the private sector.
Up until recently, the private sector had borne the brunt of the job losses in the downturn. Now, thousands of civil servants and council workers are facing redundancy as the government moves to combat the deficit. The latest Randstad workmonitor survey reveals that the proportion of public sector workers who are concerned about losing their job has risen from 29% to 35%.

These figures are in line with Greece, the country at the forefront of the EU-wide austerity drive, where 27% of public sector workers are concerned about redundancy, up from 12% at the beginning of the year.

Job worries among private sector employees in the UK have gone down in 2010, but are still noticeably higher than the public sector.

Fear of age discrimination

Interestingly, the fear of age discrimination fuels growing doubts about job security and employability. Nearly half of younger workers (18-24) in the UK have major concerns about losing their job, the highest of any age group. Nearly 90% of older workers (55 plus) would like to change jobs, but are far less confident about getting one than their younger counterparts. The survey finds that younger workers’ fear of losing their job rose sharply during the first half of 2010 – 48% of 18-24 year-olds are now very or fairly concerned compared to just 22% of 44-55 year-olds. This suggests that despite age legislation, younger workers can feel particularly vulnerable to the ‘last in, first out’ approach to redundancies.

Fear of discrimination is equally evident at the other end of the age spectrum. The survey reveals that 87% of workers aged over 55 would like a new job, the highest of any age group. Yet confidence declines sharply with age. Only 41% of older workers believe they can secure a comparable job in contrast to 82% of 18-24 year-olds and 79% of 25-34 year-olds.