We may face an era of cuts and redundancies, but research has shown UK employees are happier at work than they have ever been.
The government-backed Workplace Employment Relations Survey questioned 2,700 managers, 1,000 employment representatives, and over 20,000 staff. It found three quarters of the respondents are satisfied with their job.
This represents a slight increase on the satisfaction levels recorded in 2004; the last time the survey was carried out.
One factor behind the findings was that employees felt communication had improved. The survey found people felt management were now more likely to tell them about changes and more inclined to provide information regarding finances.
Employees also felt they had more autonomy at work. The survey discovered minor increases in the number of staff who felt they have “a lot of influence” over how they work, the speed at which they do it, and the times when they start and finish.
Another factor was a significant increase in the number of people who said their job made them tense only “occasionally” or “never”.
The findings come despite one third of workers having wages either frozen or cut, and 29% having to contend with an increased workload as a result of the recession.
Alex Bryson of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, who co-authored the paper, offered an explanation: “It’s quite possible that some people’s expectations will have adjusted as a result of the recession – in other words, being grateful for being in a job.”
He added: “There are signs that working life has improved in a number of respects for those who have been lucky enough to stay in work.”
Understandably, in a time when increasing numbers of high-street stalwarts are going into administration, the most significant reduction was in how satisfied people were with their job security.