Survey reveals discontent

Only a little more than half of engineers in the UK are happy with their job, according to the Global Workforce Index 2006, an international workplace survey carried out by employment agency, Kelly Services.



The survey also found that Britain‘s overall workforce is amongst the unhappiest in the world.



As reported by the agency, 48 per cent of people claimed to be unhappy with their current job, and out of 28 countries, the UK ranked equal 23rd with Thailand.



Denmark has the happiest workforce, with 74 per cent of employees saying they are satisfied with their jobs. Mexico and Sweden followed with 71 per cent. The UK engineering sector ranked bottom fifth amongst 13 other industries, with only 53 per cent of workers saying they are happy with their job.



However, UK bosses fared better, receiving modest praise from workers who awarded them an average score of 6.7 out of 10. UK bosses were rated 11th amongst the 28 countries, the best bosses being found in Mexico, USA and Canada, and the worst in Sweden, Italy and Turkey.



Employers were rated on four attributes–communication, leadership, team spirit and delegation skills; areas which UK employers did not excel in, but fared reasonably. Workers felt that bosses were best at delegating effectively, but weak on the other three qualities. Engineering employees awarded their bosses a score of 6.4, slightly below the UK average.



The Kelly Global Workforce Index sought the views of approximately 70,000 people in 28 countries including almost 6,000 in the UK.



The survey also found that the UK’s teachers are happier with their jobs than any other UK industry sector, and place their bosses in the top three nationally. Sixty-three per cent of UK teachers were happy or very happy, and bosses in teaching scored an average of 6.8 out of a possible 10.



UK workers employed in Transport and Distribution are the least happy (25 per cent). In research conducted in October 2006, this industry also reported high levels of discrimination. Forty-four per cent claimed they had experienced discrimination when applying for a job, positioning it amongst the bottom three industry sectors, whilst 35 per cent said they experienced discrimination whilst working within the last five years.



Wales has the happiest workforce (60 per cent) with Scotland (58 per cent) and London (57 per cent) following closely behind. Northerners are the least content at work, with 24 per cent claiming they are unhappy in their current role. The under-20 age group were kindest to their bosses, awarding them an average score of 6.8. Those aged between 45-54 proved tougher, awarding their bosses an average score of 6.1.



Forty three per cent of employees claimed their boss does not reward them for a job well done. Amongst those who do show praise and recognition, there was surprisingly little difference between men and women. Fifty eight per cent of women show their gratitude to their employees compared to 56 per cent of men.




Commenting on the figures, Audrey McCulloch-Aziz, UK head of Kelly Scientific Resources and Kelly Engineering Resources, said: ‘The survey has revealed both good and bad news for the UK. Whilst we may be one of the unhappiest workforces in Europe, we still have confidence in our bosses, believing they are doing an acceptable job.



‘It is not, therefore, our bosses who are making us disgruntled. It is more likely to be our long working hours, the highest in Europe, or perhaps even our long commutes to work.’