From education to employment

Public sector workers – the miserable reality!

Public sector workers are more miserable than private sector workers with a worrying 42 per cent of UK public sector employees stating that their situation at work is hurting their ability to be happy away from work. This compares to just 29 per cent of private sector workers! And if you’re a ‘Generation X’ man working in ‘operations’ for the public sector, you’re among the unhappiest workers in the UK!

Those who work in the public sector are more likely to have a poor work-life balance and a job that is having a negative effect on their physical health.

These are the findings of an in-depth survey by workplace culture specialist O.C. Tanner, which questioned 476 UK adults working at companies with over 500 employees about how their job impacts their health.

“Despite the latest Office of National Statistics figures showing that sickness absence levels are now at an all-time low, many UK workers are still having a challenging time at work. Public sector workers are amongst the most unhappy with their jobs putting considerable strain on their physical, mental and emotional health”, says Robert Ordever, Managing Director of O.C. Tanner Europe.

UK men are also unhappier in the workplace than women with more men admitting that their job has a negative impact on their physical health and is hurting their ability to be happy in other aspects of their lives. In fact, nearly a third of men feel as though their job is having a detrimental effect on their health.

It is women who seem to be enjoying a better work-life balance with 59 per cent stating that their job allows them to effectively balance their work and personal lives compared with 54 per cent of men.

And if you class yourself as ‘Generation X’, you’re  more miserable than Baby Boomers and Millennials. Over one third of ‘Generation X’ workers (born between the mid-1960s and early 1980s) state that their job is damaging their health compared with just one quarter of Millennials.

“The younger generation seems to be having a far happier time in the workplace”, says Ordever. “This could be for many reasons including Millennials’ propensity to ‘job hop’ or organisations doing more to cater for the younger generation. Whatever the reason, it’s important that companies don’t ignore older workers when it comes to culture and working conditions.” 

In terms of job functions, UK workers in ‘operations’ are the most unhappy, however when looking at employees globally, those working in customer services followed by IT are the most downcast. Both these job functions were reported as having the greatest negative impact on workers’ health.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, part-time workers believe that they have a better work-life balance than those who work full-time, however salaried workers are happier than those on an hourly wage. In fact, 37 per cent of hourly wage earners admit that their job has a negative impact on their health compared with just 29 per cent of salaried workers.

Ordever adds, “With workers’ health directly linked to happiness levels, it’s time for organisations to invest in a workplace culture that makes staff wellbeing a top priority. By encouraging a good work-life balance and a ‘stress-less’ working environment where staff appreciation is king, a happy, engaged and healthier workforce will result.”

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