Craig Wilson
Craig Wilson

Articles From the Team

How much do British workers like their jobs and pay?

Last year, YouGov ran a poll to ascertain how many British workers liked their job and their wages. Producing an outcome that certainly surprised me, given our well documented period of austerity and inflation, the results confirmed that almost half of us – the 1,133 employed British Adults sampled - consider ourselves well-paid and two-thirds of us say we are in jobs we like or love.

How much do we like our jobs?

Boiling this down, we see that almost half like their job, 17% love their job and one in five neither like not dislike their job. Relatively few people are in employment they do not like and only 10% of British workers say they dislike their jobs. An additional 6% say they actively hate their job.

Middle-class employees were found to be noticeably more likely to enjoy their job than working class workers, with two-thirds of people in ABC1 social grades saying they like or love their jobs, compared to just over half of C2DW social grade workers. Similarly, women were more likely than men to say they like/love their jobs (68% vs 58%).

How well paid do we feel?

The YouGov survey results show that nearly half of British workers appear satisfied with their level of pay, with four in ten believing they are fairly well paid and nearly one in ten thinking they are very well paid. Just under a quarter of British workers consider themselves in jobs that pay fairly (15%) or very badly (8%), whilst the remaining three in ten thinks they are paid neither well nor badly.

As above, those in the middle-classes are more likely to feel their jobs are well paid than working class people (52% vs 36%). Interestingly, and certainly reflecting the hot topic that is equal pay, men are more likely than women to think they are paid very or fairly well (50% vs 43%).

Impact of the findings?

The results of the findings are interesting as they indicate that the majority of British workers (62%) feel they are in a job they like or love – roughly two-thirds. This is broadly in line with recruitment thinking about the candidate market, i.e. that you have one-third who are actively looking for work (those dissatisfied), one-third who are passive (those who are happy but looking to progress) and one-third who are not looking and/or are not known to recruiters.

The high level of positivity towards a workers current role suggests that a good number of possible applicants / relevant workers are likely to be those who are happy / content in their role. Looking at the money side of the poll, the results suggest that salary / poor pay is most likely not the primary motivator for a good number of people looking to move employer - nearly half of workers (47%) stated they are satisfied with their level of pay, and 29% don’t have an opinion either way.

The findings in a recruitment context?

Factoring in the above, and knowing the legal market as I do, we can see that the majority of workers are happy and not looking to move, and/or are looking for progression and career advancement. Money is an important factor but it is often secondary to working for the right employer or team, doing good work, having progression opportunities etc.

I saw just such an example of this recently when someone opted to move employer to facilitate a move to a PLC where they would gain greater knowledge, experience, professional qualifications and development. They moved solely for the personal progression and opportunity for career development as opposed to salary.

Most of the people I speak to are content in their role and they generally are comfortable with their salary. Moving jobs is predominantly about climbing the career ladder and the increase in salary naturally follows. Companies trying to retain talent need to recognise that progression opportunities are important and they should ensure they provide regular and adequate pay increases when their employees do assume additional responsibility. Most people who are unhappy with their pay are those who feel they are doing too much and/or have too much responsibility vis-à-vis their pay grade.

The original YouGov article can be found here:

For more information contact Craig Wilson at BCL Legal.

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