Employee Pulse | Qualtrics

UK Employee Pulse November 2017

UK Employee
Pulse November 2017

Many of the world’s largest companies use Qualtrics to monitor and improve the employee experience. We wanted to know how different sectors and countries stacked up and what employers can do improve the experience.

So we asked 4,696 workers from some of our key sectors to give their views on everything from their job satisfaction to how they’re affected by stress at work. The UK’s results show employers here still have plenty to do to improve the experience.


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Section 1

How engaged are the UK’s workers?

48%

of workers in the UK are engaged,
the third lowest of all the countries we surveyed.

Question 1.1

Which industries have the most and least motivated workers?

55%

40%

54%

It & Tech

54%

Manufacturing

53%

Finance

51%

Other

51%

Healthcare

51%

Travel & Leisure

49%

Public sector

47%

Retail

46%

Media & Advertising

45%

Telecoms

45%

Utilities

Employee Experience powered by 

Using Qualtrics’ Drive iQ technology, we found the top 3 drivers of employee engagement in the UK were:

1

Working for a company that’s supportive of work-life balance

2

Being able to try out new things in your role

3

Helpful managers who help you solve problems at work

Sarah Marrs

Principal Consultant, Employee Experience

The key driver results show us where organisations can focus to have a real impact on engagement.

Work-life balance

Work-life balance is not traditionally something included on most engagement surveys but, based on our study, more companies should be looking to add it on their surveys.

Trying out new things

Being able to try out things that interest you in your role was a stronger driver of engagement than seeing career progression in an organisation. If you’re a manager, make sure you take time to understand what work interests your employees, and give them opportunities to complete tasks that align with those in their role. Unfortunately we have some way to go in the UK - it was the 3rd lowest scoring item in the study.

Helpful managers

We also saw mixed results across sectors when it came to manager helpfulness at solving work issues - the 3rd top driver of engagement. While managers in utilities scored best, public sector managers scored the lowest in the UK.


How engaged are you?

Take our 1 minute test to see how you compare.

Take Our Engagement Test

What is the Qualtrics Employee Pulse study?

Employee Pulse is our quarterly look at what’s driving employee attitudes, behaviours and wellbeing. Each quarter we run a research study, pulling in the views of 4,696 full-time workers around the world. We’re experimenting with fresh ways to measure Engagement and look beyond just the typical drivers of engagement to understand what companies should be doing to build more enjoyable, productive and attractive places to work.

Countries included in the study

We gathered data from full time workers in the US, the UK, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong

Industries included in the study

Respondents come from a wide range of industries including finance, healthcare, IT & Tech, Media & Advertising, Utilities, Telecoms, Retail, Public Sector, Travel & Leisure and Manufacturing.

Number of questions

45

Section 2

Attrition and the War for Talent

17%

of UK workers are looking to leave their jobs in the next 2 years—the second highest figure globally.

The US has the most loyal workers, with just 11% of workers saying they probably or definitely will leave their job in the next 2 years.

Question 2.1

Which sectors are struggling to hold on to talent?

Sarah Marrs

Principal Consultant, Employee Experience

IT & Tech workers were most engaged in our study, but they’re also most likely to leave. It very clearly highlights the challenges facing the industry - we know ourselves how fierce the war for talent is, so IT & Tech companies have some real hurdles when it comes to retaining good people. Where might be a good place to start? Well, according to this quarter’s results, looking at stress, pressure and well-being; people who believe their employer is supportive of their having a work-life balance and who report lower levels of stress at work are more likely to see themselves staying in the longer-term.


Workers looking to leave in the next 2 years

25%

0%

21%

Travel & leisure

20%

Telecoms

18%

Healthcare

18%

Public sector

18%

Other

16%

Finance

16%

Manufacturing

13%

Retail

7%

Utilities

4%

Media & advertising

Question 2.2

Which sector has the most loyal workers?

70%

50%

67%

Manufacturing

66%

Healthcare

65%

Retail

65%

Finance

64%

Utilities

63%

Other

59%

IT & tech

57%

Public sector

54%

Travel & leisure

52%

Media & advertising

Employee Experience powered by 

UK Millennials are not that different

We hear a lot of talk that millennials are the least loyal of workers. And while our study appeared to hold that true globally, when we looked at our data from the UK, we found having a high intent to stay is actually static up until the 45-54 age bracket, when it jumps by 6 percentage points.

Intent to stay by age group

Question 2.3

Who’s likely to stay and who’s going?

Potential Leavers

Loyal Workers


Typically been with the company less time

Typically been with the organisation for 5+ years

More than 65% of them regularly check emails at a weekend with 25% doing it all the time

50% of this group never checks emails at a weekend

Much, much higher levels of stress due to work, about 55% say they feel emotional or stressed most of the time or all of the time due to work

Low levels of stress or pressure; about 55% almost never or only occasionally feel emotional or stressed because of work

Nearly ¾ believe their employer is extremely or somewhat unsupportive of their work-life balance

Overwhelmingly feel their employer is supportive of their having a work-life balance

More likely to be in junior positions (individual contributors and junior managers) and tend to be younger with nearly half under the age of 35

No significant correlations - loyal workers tend to be evenly split by job role and age

Slightly more likely to be female - 60% of potential leavers were women

No significant link - loyal workers showed an even split between men and women

How engaged are you?

Take our 1 minute test to see how you compare.

Take Our Engagement Test

Section 3

How much do the UK’s workers enjoy their jobs?

The UK’s workforce is one of the least motivated in the world— just 39% of UK workers look forward to going to work most or all of the time. In comparison, 52% of US workers look forward to going to work most or all of the time.

New Zealand

54%

USA

52%

Australia

50%

Germany

48%

Malaysia

45%

Singapore

43%

UK

39%

France

39%

Hong Kong

34%

Question 3.1

Who looks forward to going to work in the morning?

Question 3.2

Who dreads going to work each day?

Employee Experience powered by 

Work seems to get easier once you’re earning £45k

There is a mixed pattern between looking forward to going to work and salary - meaning more money doesn’t necessarily mean looking forward to going to work more. Having said that, in the UK there is a clear upswing by 14 percentage points in looking forward to work after the £45k pay bracket, which might indicate that once you hit that threshold, things get easier.

% of people who look forward to going to work most or all of the time

Question 3.3

Who really looks forward to going to work?

The people who most look forward to going to work also appear to give up more of their personal time for work - by working more hours or checking emails on weekends:

Looking forward to going to work vs working hours

25–35 HOURS

47%

35–40 HOURS

42%

40–45 HOURS

45%

45–50 HOURS

48%

50–55 HOURS

50%

55–60 HOURS

53%

60+ HOURS

58%

Looking forward to going to work vs checking emails on a weekend

NEVER

35%

OCCASIONALLY

40%

HALF THE TIME

38%

MOST OF THE TIME

55%

ALWAYS

62%

Interestingly, working longer hours or checking emails on a weekend doesn’t seem to have a negative impact on how much people look forward to going to work. In fact, sitting in the middle of our frequency scale (i.e. working longer hours, feeling stressed or checking emails on the weekend half the time) was much more likely to indicate people who don’t look forward to going to work.

By feeling emotional / stressed through work

Never

67%

Occasionally

48%

half the time

29%

Most of the time

39%

Always

49%

By feeling overwhelmed

Never

64%

Occasionally

46%

half the time

32%

Most of the time

44%

Always

57%

By feeling tired

Never

66%

Occasionally

49%

half the time

25%

Most of the time

42%

Always

64%

Question 3.4

What makes people look forward to going to work?

We looked at those who looked forward to going to work and those who didn’t to find out the key drivers:

—  Being happy with current work-life balance
—  Being acknowledged for good work
—  Having a manager who can help tackle work-related problems
—  Having confidence in company senior leadership team

Then, we looked at whether these conditions were also true for millennials (in our study, the age brackets under 35). We found that the top 2 held for millenials, however, they were followed by 2 new conditions:

—  Trusting the people on their team
—  Having opportunity for career progression at the company

Sarah Marrs

Principal Consultant, Employee Experience

Whatever age group, there are 2 universal conditions that a company creates when people look forward to going to work. When people are happy with their work-life balance and feel they’re acknowledged when they do good work, they look forward to work. If a manager focussed on ensuring their team has a balance between work and life which suits them, and made sure to recognise good work from their team-mates, our results would indicate this would give them a team full of people that want to be there.

If you manage a younger team, helping to build strong bonds and levels of trust on the team as well as ensuring people see the opportunity for career progression is also important.


How engaged are you?

Take our 1 minute test to see how you compare.

Take Our Engagement Test

Section 4

How much are we working?

25%

The UK’s workforce is one of the least motivated in the world— just 39% of UK workers say they regularly work more than 45 hours a week, recording one of the lowest scores of the countries we surveyed. In France meanwhile, just 14% said they worked more than 45 hours a week.

Question 4.1

Who’s working the longest hours?

40%

15%

36%

Utilities

30%

Media & Advertising

29%

It & Tech

29%

Retail

25%

Travel & Leisure

24%

Healthcare

23%

Public Sector

22%

Finance

21%

Manufacturing

20%

Telecoms

Question 4.2

Who’s putting in the most over-time?

45%

15%

41%

It & Tech

41%

Media & Advertising

37%

Finance

34%

Travel & Leisure

33%

Retail

30%

Manufacturing

30%

Telecoms

29%

Utilities

28%

Healthcare

18%

Public Sector

Employee Experience powered by 

Who’s working the most?

In the UK, women are only very slightly more likely than men to work outside their contracted hours, so there’s a fairly even split by gender.

Not surprisingly, people newer in their roles are more likely to put extra hours in - but this tapers off with time at a company.

People working beyond their contracted hours vs tenure

Less than 1 year

65%

1–2 years

54%

2–3 years

45%

3–4 years

45%

4–5 years

40%

5 or more years

56%

On the other hand, working hours increase with salary - up to £100k a year, after which your working hours are actually likely to go down a little.

People working beyond their contracted hours by salary

Meet the Workaholics

Plenty of people said they were working 60+ hours a week (that’s more than 12 a day in a 5 day week!) - so we wanted to find out who this group of people were and how they felt about their jobs:

Younger workers in more senior roles

They are slightly more likely to have been in their role longer than the other groups:

—  They tend to be younger - the majority are under 34 years old
—  They’re also slightly more senior, with the majority in senior management or leadership
—  They are slightly more likely to be male than female

They really go the extra mile...

—  Nearly 50% of them always check their email on weekends, as opposed to just 17% of the global study.
—  Nearly 25% of them will commute for over 2 hours to get to work, as opposed to 3% average globally

They feel stressed by it...

—  Nearly 25% always feel overwhelmed with their work, as opposed to 6% of the global data set
—  Over 20% of them feel emotional or stressed because of work, as opposed to 6% in global study

But they don’t seem to mind!

—  This group is the most likely group to recommend their company to people they know as a place to work
—  36% say they definitely will stay in their roles, compared to the UK average of 26%
—  Over ¼ say they nearly always look forward to going to work, compared to a UK average of 10%

Sarah Marrs

Principal Consultant, Employee Experience

The data shows us a really interesting set of people here. You might think it’s a group of unhappy, downtrodden workers but despite the long hours and the stress they’re one of the most positive groups of workers we’ve seen.


How engaged are you?

Take our 1 minute test to see how you compare.

Take Our Engagement Test

Section 5

Stress, health & wellbeing

23%

of workers in the UK say they feel stressed or emotional because of work, always or most of the time. Hong Kong ranked highest for stress with 30% of workers saying the same.

Question 5.1

Which sector has the most stressed employees?

45%

15%

41%

Media & Advertising

30%

Telecoms

28%

IT & Tech

26%

Travel & Leisure

25%

Retail

22%

Finance

21%

Healthcare

21%

Utilities

20%

Manufacturing

18%

Public Sector

Question 5.2

Who has the best and worst work-life balance?

Employee Experience powered by 

One of the biggest trends to come out of the data is the link between an organisation’s perceived support of work-life balance and engagement:

Employee engagement vs company support of work-life balance

Sarah Marrs

Principal Consultant, Employee Experience

What’s interesting is that some of the telltale signs of a poor work life balance like always working outside of your contracted hours or checking emails on the weekend don’t significantly impact engagement. In fact, we saw that people who nearly always checked emails at weekends were actually happier than those who did only half the time!

Companies need to be aware that being perceived as unsupportive of work-life balance can be very detrimental to their employee engagement efforts.

This study would suggest that work-life balance is not just about shorter hours or completely disconnecting from work. We’d like to do further research but our initial hypothesis from the data we’ve seen is that it could be more about allowing employees to define their own boundaries, and supporting those boundaries.


How engaged are you?

Take our 1 minute test to see how you compare.

Take Our Engagement Test