June 16, 2023
Nearly all UK workers (90 percent) are not enthused by their work and workplace, according to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace 2023 Report. The UK workforce rate of engagement at work (10 percent) remains one of the lowest in Europe, ranking near the bottom among peer countries (33 out of 38) with countries like the US reporting triple the number of engaged employees (31 percent). The poor state of disengaged workforces is not unique to the UK, with just 13 percent of employees across Europe feeling engaged at work, and the lowest rates of engagement reported in France (7 percent) and Italy (5 percent).
Over the last year, there has been an abundance of negative news in the UK around the cost-of-living crisis, climate change, and the mounting pressure on the NHS. These are all possible triggers for people in the UK reporting growing levels of worry, stress, and anger at work. The survey results reflect this bleak picture for the current mood of the UK workforce, with nearly a fifth (19 percent) of UK professionals reporting feeling angry at work, a significant 4-point increase year-on-year, putting the UK well above the European average (14 percent).
Despite this, most UK workers may not be leaving their unfulfilling jobs for greener pastures. As the report also reveals confidence in the UK’s current job market has declined by four points since last year’s report, with just 36 percent of people believing that now is a good time to find a job. Falling UK confidence bucked the trend of growing job-market confidence in the rest of Europe, where over half of the population (56 percent, up 12 points year-on-year) believe now is a good time to look for a job.
There has been speculation about an impending recession and against this backdrop, this could explain why job confidence in the UK is considerably lower than much of the rest of Europe. People may be opting to stay in their current role as this is the ‘safer’ option, rather than risk being last in-first out if a recession hits.
With employee engagement at an all-time low and rising levels of anger, companies must act fast to turn the tide on this trend. Amid economic instability employers may not be able to incentivise their employees with renumerations and benefits.
“The UK continues to perform poorly on employee engagement. To tackle widespread disengagement, businesses need to be championing employees and giving them the right tools and resources to be productive and purposeful. Additionally, it’s important for employees spend time together,” said Anna Sawyer, Gallup Partner. The value of real human interactions cannot be overlooked – it’s crucial for career development, productivity and wellbeing, amongst other outcomes. Companies that fail to make employee engagement a priority risk losing talent and ultimately jeopardise their overall success.”