Keeping your workforce happy and motivated is vital for both productivity and retention, yet it seems that all too many UK businesses are failing in this regard. This assertion is made in light of new research conducted by Paymentsense, which found that 72% of employees in the UK go to work just so they afford to live rather than for any kind of job satisfaction, with one in four considering a career change in 2018 as a result.

More than half of the survey’s 2,000 respondents admitted that money is their biggest motivation to work, rather than any sense of pride or satisfaction, making the lack of drive among the UK workforce even more apparent. Meanwhile 67% state that their university degree has gone to waste in their professional lives, and that they now work in an unrelated role.

As for when this slump is most pronounced, the survey found that careers peak and employees subsequently lose passion for their work around the age of 42. Opportunities to progress are seen as rare once reaching this age, which is why when those in their 40’s were asked, “why do you go to work every day?”,  76% said they only do so to be able to afford to live; 51% cite a need to pay the mortgage, while 57% have responsibilities to support the family.

Alarmingly, just 11% of those in their 40’s say they are passionate about their job and only 14% are looking to build their career. Instead these individuals who have apparently reached their ‘career peak’ say that having 20+ annual holiday days (47%) and a well-paid salary (65%) is more important to them than opportunities to progress (5%); in a strange way this lack of desire to progress is almost fortunate, as 19% face little-to-no opportunity to do so anyway.

More generally speaking, 86% of participants insist that money is the most important factor when it comes to their job. Other desirable aspects include a good pension scheme (72%) and 20+ days of holiday (79%).

Guy Moreve, Head of Marketing at Paymentsense, commented, “Although money is the biggest motivator, it is shocking to see how many Brits choose money over passion when it comes to working. Employers have a certain amount of responsibility for the motivation and well-being of the workforce, and for a team to function to the best of its ability all members must be fully engaged and committed.

“Employees losing their motivation or passion for their role can be detrimental to business and therefore employers are advised to really listen and respond to your employees’ needs to ensure high levels of engagement throughout your company. Spotting the warning signs of a disengaged employee early and addressing them quickly can help encourage retention.”


Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor as he continues to expand his horizons.
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