Quarter of UK workers not giving their best

UK workers are less enthusiastic about their work and less productive than their European counterparts, according to research from Deloitte which also found that almost half say their job has already been affected by automation

A quarter (27%) of UK workers overall and a third (34%) of those aged 25 to 34 say they are not performing their best at work, or not giving 100%. This compares with a European average of 21%.

Twice as many UK workers say their work is not meaningful (36%) compared to those in Europe (18%). A third (32%) in the UK report they are not stimulated by what they do, compared to a quarter in Europe (24%).

The research was based on responses from more than 15,000 people across 10 European countries, including 2,043 from the UK.

Anne-Marie Malley, UK human capital leader at Deloitte, said: ‘For the UK to remain a globally competitive economy, more must be done to address productivity in our workplaces and the ever widening skills gap.

‘Businesses are facing an uphill struggle to address these factors which is leading to dissatisfaction, disengagement and despondency among employees.

‘Employers must offer more support to strengthen their worker’s skills and communicate the value their roles are bringing to their company, the economy and ultimately society as a whole.’

The majority of workers in the UK said that they need to learn new skills in order to do their job effectively, with advanced IT cited as the key skill by 61%, followed by technical knowledge (57%). Further down the list, just 35% said problem solving skills would be needed and 31% said they would need teamwork.

Deloitte’s research also highlighted that almost half of UK workers are already feeling the impact of automation. In the UK 44% said some of the tasks they did five years ago have been automated and are now done by robots or software, up from a European average of 38%. In addition, 34% said that entire business processes relevant to their job have been automated over the past five years, up from 30% of overall European workers.

Despite this, 76% of European workers and 83% of UK workers do not expect any major changes to their job over the next decade as a result of automation.

Malley said: ‘The reality is that the future of work is now, and automation is already impacting day-to-day roles. Awareness will provoke action, so it’s important for businesses to educate workers on how their roles will be augmented by technology over the next decade.’

Finally, Deloitte’s research highlighted that the rise of new working models is of particular interest to older workers. Twice as many workers aged over 54 are interested in freelancing (18%) as those aged under 35 (7%).

Malley said: ‘Older workers are motivated, satisfied and open to alternative employment arrangements. As the average age of the workforce continues to increase, overlooking older employees will be a missed opportunity.’

Report by Pat Sweet

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