Nearly half of private sector employees feel drinking is an important part of workplace culture, think tank finds

The report, which has been published on the CIPD, said drinking alcohol with colleagues is regarded as a ‘rite of passage’ and ‘social glue’ by 40 per cent of young workers, according to a new report from think tank Demos.

More than two-fifths (43 per cent) of young workers (those aged between 18 and 34) surveyed for the report, Youth Drinking in Transition, said they believed that not drinking alcohol was a barrier to social integration at work.

Nearly half (44 per cent) of those surveyed said they drink with colleagues, and a further 10 per cent said they drink alcohol with clients – with some expressing concern about their career progression if they abstained. A quarter admitted to experiencing pressure from colleagues to drink.

Ian Wybron, senior researcher at Demos, said:

“Harmful drinking is on the decline among young adults… [but] alcohol remains the defining social glue for many young adults, with non-drinkers effectively excluded in many circles.”

Excessive alcohol consumption is expensive for employers. Statistics from the Department of Health suggest that an average company or organisation that employs 200 staff will lose £37,634 per year because of alcohol’s impact on health and work.

Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of respondents to Demos’ survey said they performed less effectively at work because of alcohol; a further 21 per cent said they had gone to work with a hangover in the last month; and 9 per cent had been under the influence of alcohol in the workplace within the last month.





Rebecca joined the HRreview editorial team in January 2016. After graduating from the University of Sheffield Hallam in 2013 with a BA in English Literature, Rebecca has spent five years working in print and online journalism in Manchester and London. In the past she has been part of the editorial teams at Sleeper and Dezeen and has founded her own arts collective.