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What we learnt in 2013 – according to the careers surveys at least!

surveyLove them or hate them, surveys can throw up some fascinating insights. Here’s our round-up of careers and work surveys of 2013, along with what we learnt behind the stats.
1. A quarter of workers say management speak is “pointless irritation”

Wondering what the most annoying management phrase of 2013 is? You may need to “Think outside the box.” The phrase – meaning to look at things differently – was voted the most irritating example of office jargon, according to a survey of 2,000 managers by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM).

Office jargon is used in two thirds of British workplaces – but for a quarter of workers, phrases such as “going forward” and “let’s touch base” are a pointless irritation.

What we learnt: Jargon isn’t just annoying, it can hold businesses back. ‘It does two things – it isolates newcomers who feel they have to learn the lingo when they should be made to feel at home, and it gets in the way of business and finds its way onto forms, leaflets and official documents,’ warns Chrissie Mahler, founder of the Plain English Campaign.

2. Two-thirds of UK workers are burned out

Are you too exhausted from work to even think about Christmas? If so, you’re not alone. Two-thirds of workers say they feel burned out at work, either sometimes or always, according to a survey by CareerBuilder UK.

So what’s causing it? It could be that in the last six months, just over half (52 per cent) of workers have reported an increase in their workloads, in part due to employers cutting head count or not replacing staff to reduce costs.

What we learnt: British workers are some of the most likely to only take a week or less off each year (in Japan and Germany, 29 or more days is normal), according to our global workplace trends survey. Interestingly, a third of UK office workers fail to take annual leave because they “feel guilty” asking for time off or leaving their colleagues in the lurch, according to a separate survey by Adecco.

3. A quarter of mums experience discrimination at work

Employers have made efforts to improve equality in the workplace but there is still much to do – especially for working mums. A quarter of mothers feel that they have been subject to discrimination either before or after the birth of their children, according to research.

Nearly half of the 2,000 working mums surveyed by law firm Slater & Gordon said that becoming a parent had halted their career progression, with one-third stating that rising up the career ladder as a mother was “impossible”, despite only seven per cent admitting that they struggled to perform as well at work as a consequence of having children.

What we learnt: Employment law is there to protect women with children or those planning to have them, but negative attitudes and working practices remain a reality for many. ‘It is a disgrace that in 2013 women should still be missing out on promotion or treated as second class workers,’ said Karen Jennings, Unison assistant general secretary. ‘Unless there is a wholesale cultural shift across workplaces this silent epidemic is only going to get worse.’

4. One-in-three working mums now the main breadwinner

They may report facing negative attitudes in the workplace, but more than one in three UK working mothers are now the primary breadwinners in their household.

According to a study by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), 2.2 million UK working mothers now earn more than their partner, or provide the sole income for their household – an increase of 1 million since 1996/97.

What we learnt: While mothers who are educated to degree level are more likely to be breadwinners than lower skilled mums, all working mums face significant barriers to entering and remaining in employment, with the report citing ‘a lack of flexible work opportunities, unaffordable childcare and gendered parental leave entitlements based on outdated stereotypes.’

5. Excessive pay ‘still rife in banking’, say 65 per cent of sector staff

Banking bosses may have come under scrutiny since the banking crisis – but they’re still giving themselves generous bonuses. That’s the feeling of three quarters of financial sector employees, who say that senior managers in their sector are still receiving excessive pay.

The research published by CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, in its Employee Outlook: Focus on rebuilding trust in the City, found that 65 per cent of employees believe that some people in their organisation are still rewarded in a way that incentivises inappropriate behaviour.

What we learnt: Despite frequent calls to rebuild trust in the City via widespread cultural change, only four in ten employees say there have been efforts to change the culture in their company. Worryingly, the likelihood of employees speaking up about such practices are reduced as one-in-five banking sector workers say they felt bullied in the past two years to behave in ways that run counter to their personal ethics or the interests of customers.

6. One-in-four workers are searching for a new job

The number of people looking for a new job is at its highest level for two years, according to research from the CIPD and Halogen. Nearly a quarter of workers are searching for a new role – with those working in the private and voluntary sectors most likely to be job hunting.

The survey of 3,000 employees found that job satisfaction was the main reason for wanting a change, with 62 of respondents revealing that they felt unfulfilled by their job. Nearly half (45 per cent) cited pressures of the job as the main motivator for wanting to make a change.

What we learnt: While the survey suggests confidence in the economic recovery, companies need to do more to retain staff. Worryingly, more than one-in-four workers said they had never had a performance review. These findings demonstrate that organisations who want to keep top talent need to assess how well their talent management programs are addressing employee needs and the needs of the organisation,’ said Donna Ronayne, vice president of marketing at Halogen.

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  1. Jason Preece | Jan 10, 2014 | Reply

    One of the areas I have not seen analysed in any way is the employment of ex-prisoners. The automatic necessity of ‘Disclosure’ for past offences discriminates these people from the work place. No matter what qualifications or how hard they work one look at a ‘Disclosure’ form and the job application goes in the bin.

    This, unfortunately, is likely to have a great impact on the re-offending rate of ex-offenders because they “still have to pay the bills” and are “tired of being labelled as second class citizens”.

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