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People are less engaged, less fulfilled, and more stressed in their working life finds CIPD

The CIPD has warned of a ‘slow slide into mediocrity’ in the UK as a number of key measures of job quality have fallen back in recent years, impacting individuals and the economy.  According to the CIPD Good Work Index most people like their work and find it satisfying, however as many as 6-9 million workers experience poor-quality work in some major areas of their employment and there has been no significant improvement in job quality in the past four years.

Compared to 2019, workers today are less enthused about work, less likely to perceive their work as useful and more likely to see work as purely transactional – simply for the money.

In the continued cost-of-living crisis, better pay and benefits are a key motive behind people moving jobs (34 per cent), followed by better job satisfaction (27 per cent), a better work–life balance (23 per cent) and people wanting to do a different type of work (22 per cent).

Yet workers are less likely to work harder than needed to help their employer, falling from 57 per cent in 2019 to 51 per cent in 2023, marking a shift in willingness to put in extra effort.

Said Jake Young, Research Associate, CIPD: “Despite the upheaval of recent years, most UK workers remain broadly positive about their jobs. However, there’s a mixed experience of job quality, especially between private sector and public sector roles. Not all jobs can be transformed, but significant improvements in areas such as training, development, and people management should be possible.”

The report identifies three key areas that the UK Government and employers must address to support better working lives:

  • A renewed policy focus on ‘good work’ and improving job quality
  • The gap between the quality of working life in the public sector versus the private sector must be narrowed to address current challenges and attract future workers
  • Work must become more flexible and more attractive if there is to be a sustainable solution to major labour supply challenges.
  • Employers should focus on improving access to flexible working options and financial wellbeing support and identifying and managing skills mismatches to engage, satisfy and develop staff.

The CIPD is calling on the UK Government and employers to take action to improve job quality in the UK. By doing so, they can help to create a more productive, fairer, and more sustainable economy.


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