Satisfaction levels drop as hours rise in UK workplace

Britain’s long-hours working culture is making employees more dissatisfied
and less motivated than ever before, claims a survey.

The research by the Economic and Social Research Council shows that only 20
per cent of male employees are completely or very satisfied with their working
hours, compared with 35 per cent when questioned in 1992.

And over half of female employees were satisfied with their hours nine years
ago, compared to 29 per cent this year.

The least happy workers are highly qualified and form the elite part of the
workforce, claims the research. Professional workers are twice as likely to
work long hours as manual workers.

Employees who are unhappy are twice as likely as contented colleagues to be
seeking a new job, and their willingness to do their best at work declines. But
the survey shows that most employees are unwilling to take a pay cut to reduce
their hours.

Dr Michael White, the report’s project leader, of the University of
Westminster’s Policy Studies Institute, said, "Motivation will continue to
ebb away unless employers wake up to the new reality."

Nearly 60 per cent of those who work long hours say they have no choice,
according to the survey of 2,500 employees. While 30 per cent do so to earn
more money, 14 per cent hope to improve their chances of promotion.

The Industrial Society’s Dr John Knell said, "The magnitude of change
captured by this survey over the last eight years suggests that we may be close
to reaching a breaking point in the willingness of the UK workforce to tolerate
the deal at work."

www.esrc.ac.uk

By Paul Nelson

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