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L&D is the Route to a Contented Workforce


Almost five million Brits admit to a touch of ergophobia (fear of work) , according to the City & Guilds annual Happiness Index.

The survey of 1,000 UK employees, found that nearly a third of people (32%) claimed that they were not particularly happy at work giving a satisfaction rating of less than 7 out of 10. At the bottom of the pile are HR managers (2%), lawyers (4%) and secretaries (4%).

To make staff happy, 19% wanted to “do something worthwhile” and 15% wanted a more flexible workday. Personal development was also identified as a key contributor to happiness, by 8% of those surveyed.

The survey also shows that employers are (as one might suspect) out of touch when it comes to gauging employee happiness – but not in the way you might think! Bosses scored their workers’ happiness lower than workers rated it themselves. And when asked what they felt was key to a happier workforce, a quarter of employers (26%) said financial incentive, while only 17% of their employees thought the same.

Chris Humphries, director general of City & Guilds, comments on the results: “When asked to rate their workplace in terms of happiness, almost a third of people earning in the £10 - £15k bracket gave their job a 10 out of 10. Compare that to workers in the £40 - £45k income bracket, where less than 5% gave their workplace a 10. This indicates, and it may come as a surprise to some, that financial reward doesn’t always mean a happier working environment or employee.”

However, it’s not all bad news as the City & Guilds Happiness Index also reveals a more contented side to our British workforce as the dawn of a new workday brings joy to hairdressers. A cheerful 57% admitting they look forward to returning to work after a day off. The nation’s happy coiffeurs are closely followed by beauty therapists, early years and childcare workers and plumbers.

Hairdressers also scored training in their workplace with a 10 out of 10. Whereas secretaries gave workplace training and development a five.

The City & Guilds said its Happiness Index showed a clear link between workplace happiness and training. Humphries said: “A quarter of all UK workers have, or would, leave a position because of a lack of training and these results clearly demonstrate that some of the happiest workers are those who feel they have a lot of opportunities for professional development.

“It’s about time employers woke up to that fact as we all know a happy workforce is a productive workforce. Moreover, investing in training makes workers feel appreciated and, consequently, more loyal.”


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