New research suggests 6.5 million UK workers are unhappy at work

27 October 2016

27 October 2016

New research from Perkbox reveals that 30% - or around 6.5 million - UK workers are not happy at work and would move jobs for better benefits.

The research revealed that the unhappiest workers are in Yorkshire and the Humber where just over two in five (42%) claim not to be happy while the happiest workers hail from the East Midlands with a whopping 80% claiming to be happy.

The research also revealed that:

  • 69% rate company perks and benefits as important to their overall satisfaction and 26% rate lack of reward and recognition for good work as their number one grievance at work
  • 53% of UK companies do not formally recognise outstanding employees on a regular basis
  • As well as lack of reward and recognition in the workplace, UK workers reported that a toxic negative culture at work was their biggest grievance while 17% highlighted micro management and 15% said long hours
  • More men than women would tell their boss if they are unhappy at work while older workers (55+) are more likely to tell their boss if they are unhappy than younger workers
  • 16% or 3.4 million UK workers suggested they have either ‘poor’ or a ‘terrible’ boss.
  • Younger workers are more likely to be motivated by company perks and benefits than the older generation
  • The majority of 18 – 24 year olds are more likely to stay with their current employer if they were to implement better employee benefits

Perkbox’s research also showed that one in five (20%) workers believe their boss would be moderately or not at all supportive if they told them they were unhappy in their jobs.  Younger workers feel more supported by their bosses than the older generation, with two thirds (66%) of 18 – 24 year olds believing that if they told their bosses they were unhappy, they would be either moderately or very supportive, compared with just 49% of 55 – 64 year olds.

While most UK workers are relatively positive about their boss overall, with 15% saying their boss is ‘fantastic’, 16% or 3.4 million UK workers suggested they have either ‘poor’ or a ‘terrible’ boss.

Saurav Chopra, CEO and Co-founder at Perkbox, said: "This research indicates the scale of unhappiness in workers within UK businesses, and goes some way into revealing some of the causes of the nation’s general productivity issues. A single disengaged worker, irrespective of sector, can cost a business over £3K annually in sick leave, lost productivity, training and recruitment. This cost spirals into six figures if the organisation employs over a 1,000 people. Investment in employee health, well-being and engagement via perks and benefits is often perceived as a costly, non-critical ‘nice-to-have’ rather than an intrinsic tool for incentivising, retaining and recruiting talent. Yet most research already in the public domain indicates that while remuneration might instantly gratify and sway potential employees into accepting a job offer, it’s the non-financial factors that come with reward and recognition that engages and retains workers in the long run. Satisfied workers yield dividends in terms of engagement, loyalty and morale. Quite simply, happy teams accomplish great things.”