SURVEY: where are the UK’s happiest workers

W1siziisijiwmjavmdivmjyvmtmvndqvmtavodexl01pbgxlbm5pywxzlljxlmpwzyjdlfsiccisinrodw1iiiwiodawedgwmcmixv0

The most satisfied workers in the UK live and work in The Midlands, whilst the least satisfied reside in the North East and Wales.

The findings come from a new survey* from recruiter Robert Walters, who assessed workers happiness based on 4 key factors; pay, workplace perks, longevity in a job, and job satisfaction. *(9,000 respondents across the England, Scotland & Wales)

On average, only half (54%) of the UK professionals are happy at work. In comparison to the national average, 70% of professionals in the West Midlands and 64% in the East Midlands enjoy where they work.

% of employees who are happy at work

1

West Midlands

70%

2

East Midlands

64%

3

North West

63%

4

South East

60%

5

Yorkshire & the Humber

58%

6

London

56%

7

Scotland

55%

8

South West

47%

9/=

North East

46%

9/=

Wales

46%

 

What’s more is that the positive feeling is not exclusive to employees, with job vacancies in the East & West Midlands looking more positive than anywhere else in the country.

Chris Hickey, UK CEO at Robert Walters comments:

“The ‘nearshoring’ of roles – in particular back-office and operations – to other regions in the UK (namely The Midlands and North West) is something that has been on the agenda for some time and in fact is not Brexit related, but is a decision based on cost-saving. From a London perspective, nearshoring has had more of a significant impact on hiring activity than Brexit.

“What the data in the Robert Walters salary survey highlights is that business confidence and hiring is returning.

“The UK will continue to be a global hub for professional services – from legal, HR, accounting, marketing, tech and business support – with the country being home to some of the best skilled talent in the world.”

 

 

% increase in job vacancies

% who are confident about job opportunities in region

1

West Midlands

+26%

24%

2

East Midlands

+23%

24%

3

North West

+24%

30%

4

South East

+14%

25%

5

Yorkshire & the Humber

+12%

24%

6

London

+14%

30%

7

Scotland

+19%

23%

8

South West

+15%

33%

9

North East

+11%

17%

10

Wales

+19%

11%

 

PAY

Three quarters of professional’s state that pay is important to personal job satisfaction, and on average almost half (40%) of the UK population is satisfied that their pay is an accurate reflection of the work that they do.

Regions that fall below the national average for pay satisfaction are London, Wales, South East, East of England and Scotland – where only a third of workers are happy with their pay.

Interestingly, 61% of Scots have never negotiated their salary, perhaps explaining why they have the lowest pay satisfaction rate in the country (36%). In addition, whilst 81% of professionals in the North East claim pay & benefits is the most important determinant of job satisfaction, they are ranked 6th in pay satisfaction scale and are the least likely out of any other region to negotiate.

Whilst The Midlands, North West, and Yorkshire regions fare the best on pay satisfaction, less professionals in these areas state that pay is a key determinant of job satisfaction.

With three quarters of Londoners (72%) stating good pay & benefits is key to their happiness, it is not surprising to see that they are the most ambitious when it comes to negotiating salary with more than half (57%) having negotiated better pay in their career – more than any other region.

Lucy Bisset, Director of Robert Walters North West:

“We shouldn’t ignore the findings in this survey that salary is important determinant of happiness for employees. Fair pay allows an employee to feel valued, feel financially stable, and fulfil passions outside of work – be it holidays, lifestyle or getting on the property ladder.

“Compensation says a lot about the job and the company and so benchmarking yourself against industry standard is key to protecting your employer value proposition.”

 

 

% satisfied with pay

% that state pay is important to their job satisfaction

% that have negotiated pay

1

East Midlands

45.08%

69.64%

46.03%

2

North West

43.44%

66.04%

45.42%

3

Yorkshire & the Humber

41.63%

70%

44.07%

4

West Midlands

41.07%

69.03%

43.55%

5

South West

40.68%

71.43%

48.20%

6

North East

40.55%

80.65%

33.82%

7

London

39.94%

71.80%

56.62%

8

Wales

37.25%

75%

47.89%

9

South East

36.30%

61.54%

47.57%

10

Scotland

35.59%

64.29%

39.60%

 

WORKPLACE PERKS

On average a third (33%) of professionals in the UK state that their current employers’ workplace perks suit their needs. Coming out on top is London, where almost half (45%) state that their company’s perks fit the bill.

The same however cannot be said for Wales, where less than a quarter are happy with the soft benefits provided by their employer.

Habiba Khatoon, Director of Robert Walters Midlands:

“Given that we spend more than a third of our time at work, employee perks are one of the most important practices a company can implement.

“Whether those perks come in the form of a free snack bar, the option to work from home, company retreats, or reduced-rate evening classes, employee perks show workers that an employer cares about their wellbeing – both inside the office and outside of it.”

% of employees who state workplace perks suit their needs

1

London

44.98%

2

West Midlands

36.75%

3

South East

34.74%

4

North West

33.30%

5

East Midlands

32.76%

6

North East

32.13%

7

South West

32.12%

8

Yorkshire & the Humber

30.75%

9

Scotland

29.41%

10

Wales

24.07%

 

Flexi-hours is the standout work perk most valued by Brits, with 56% stating that this appeals to them the most. This is closely followed by training opportunities (43%), bonus schemes (28%), remote working capabilities (25%), and private healthcare (19%).

Interestingly despite widespread discussion around the needs of the Millennial and Gen Z workforce, perks such as a modern & contemporary office (5%), team socials (7%), discount (11%), and travel opportunities (11%) are some of the lowest ranking perks.

Professionals in The Midlands are more likely to appreciate flexi-hours (West Mids 60%, East Mids 58%), training opportunities (West Mids 44%, East Mids 48%), and bonus schemes (West Mids 30%, East Mids 24%) more than any other region.

London workers come out on top for ranking remote working capabilities (39%) and private healthcare (23%) as some of their most preferred benefits.

workplace perks that professionals value the most

 

Flexi-hours

Remote working

Team socials

Discounts (incl gyms, leisure)

Training opportunities

Awards/incentive schemes

Shares/investment opportunities

Private healthcare

Travel opportunities (UK & abroad)

Bonus Schemes

Modern & Contemporary offices

West Midlands

60.25%

23.19%

7.89%

11.51%

44.16%

16.09%

9.46%

17.03%

9.62%

30.28%

5.36%

East Midlands

57.97%

25.86%

8.19%

13.15%

48.49%

15.73%

6.68%

15.52%

9.70%

24.35%

5.82%

North West

63.42%

32.24%

6.24%

11.95%

41.33%

15.64%

9.30%

16.91%

9.62%

29.39%

5.50%

South East

57.28%

32.16%

6.10%

10.68%

40.38%

15.85%

11.03%

21.48%

9.15%

27%

3.99%

Yorkshire & the Humber

53.76%

22.78%

6.15%

10.02%

43.74%

16.86%

9.57%

16.86%

10.48%

27.11%

3.64%

London

50.16%

39.40%

9.14%

9.92%

35.45%

10.95%

10.89%

22.55%

14.00%

31.17%

7.58%

Scotland

53.21%

17.11%

7.75%

14.44%

41.18%

17.11%

7.22%

19.25%

11.23%

28.07%

6.42%

South West

56.56%

24.66%

7.24%

10.86%

41.18%

15.84%

6.79%

19.00%

12.67%

26.70%

4.98%

North East

52.79%

12.79%

9.51%

7.87%

44.26%

20.66%

7.54%

17.70%

11.80%

25.90%

4.26%

Wales

58.82%

21.93%

3.74%

9.63%

44.39%

24.06%

6.95%

20.86%

8.56%

21.93%

2.14%

 

LONGEVITY IN A JOB

It seems that Welsh and Scottish professionals are the most loyal, with 37% having been with their current employer for more than five years. Despite this, they are the most likely to consider a job approach by another employer despite not actively looking.

Not surprisingly, Londoners show the least loyalty with less than a quarter (23%) having been at their current employer for 5+ years – in fact over half of London workers (55%) have been at their employer for 2 years or less, more than any other region. 

Habiba Khatoon, Director of Robert Walters Midlands:

“There are a number of ways that employers can hold onto their staff, one of them being setting a clear career path. All too often, companies look at promoting staff as something that they ‘have to do’ rather than something they should do.

“Progression is as much a benefit to the employer than it is to the employee. Even with pay rises associated with a promotion; retaining staff saves more money in the long run, as well as boosts morale. Most importantly, a company is able hold onto the skills, knowledge and training that has been invested into staff during their employment.”

 

% who have been with employer for 5+ years

% who have been at employer for less than 2 years

% open to a job approach when not actively looking

1

Wales

36.58%

45.83%

98%

2

Scotland

36.50%

45.02%

98%

3

South East

35.30%

43.79%

86.27%

4

Yorkshire & the Humber

33.55%

49.07%

85%

5

South West

32.77%

49.17%

85.71%

6

East Midlands

31.65%

46.29%

92.59%

7

North East

30.76%

53.28%

96.55%

8

West Midlands

30.67%

44.68%

84.55%

9

North West

29.62%

51.25%

88.33%

10

London

22.94%

55.40%

90%

 

About Robert Walters

Robert Walters Group is one of the world's leading specialist professional recruitment groups and focuses on placing high calibre professionals into permanent, contract and temporary positions at all levels of seniority. The UK business recruits across the accountancy and finance, banking, HR, legal, IT, risk, compliance, tax, treasury, procurement and supply chain and support fields. Established in 1985, the Group has built a global presence spanning 30 countries.