Recession ‘over’ but employee engagement hits all-time low, CIPD warns

Job satisfaction has plummeted among UK workers despite GDP figures out today which are expected to mark an end to the recession.

As official data is set to show that the UK economy returned to growth at the end of 2009, having spent a record 18 months in decline, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has published separate research showing employee engagement levels have hit an all-time low.

The quarterly Employee Outlook survey of more than 2,000 employees has revealed that job satisfaction has fallen to 35, down from 48 last summer. The figure is the difference between the percentage of employees agreeing with statements in the survey, minus the percentage disagreeing.

Younger workers are particularly unhappy at work, with job satisfaction among 18- to 24-year-olds falling to just 5 from 44 in summer 2009. Those aged 55 to 64 are the most satisfied at work, with a score of 55, exactly the same level as last summer.

Employee engagement report

A Kingston University report published today defines employee engagement as “being positively present during the performance of work by willingly contributing intellectual effort, experiencing positive emotions and meaningful connections to others”.

Drawing from eight case study organisations, the report confirms that engaged employees perform better, are more innovative, are more likely to stay with their employer, enjoy greater levels of personal wellbeing, and are content with their workload.

Kerstin Alfes, the report’s lead researcher at Kingston University Business School, said: “Our research has clearly demonstrated the positive impact of employee engagement on both an organisation’s success and on an individual’s wellbeing.

“This is particularly important in a recession; engagement means that staff are willing to go the extra mile to get things done, and if an organisation is struggling, that could make the difference between whether or not they survive.”

Click here for more information on the report, commissioned by the CIPD.

CIPD lead adviser and co-author of the survey, Claire McCartney, said: “Even though the economy is no longer flat on its back, the real economy as experienced in the day-to-day lives of workers is crippled.

“If the economy does officially emerge from recession today, employers are going to have to continue to work hard to re-build motivation and commitment among employees bruised by job insecurity, lack of consultation over change, pay freezes or cuts, as well as increases in stress and conflict.”

Office for National Statistics (ONS) data out today is expected to confirm that the UK’s economy grew by about 0.3% in the last three months of 2009. A growth of between 0.2% and 0.4% would put annual gross domestic product (GDP) expansion at around -4.8% for 2009 – the biggest slump in 80 years, according to reports.

Last week, official jobless figures fell for the first time in nearly two years, dropping 7,000 to 2.46 million in the three months to November 2009.




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