New record as two-thirds of public sector workers report job satisfaction



But experts warn that nearly half of public sector employees suffer ‘excessive pressure’ each week

Two-thirds (66 per cent) of public sector employees reported being satisfied with their jobs in the latest CIPD/Halogen Employee Outlook  – the highest level since 2012.

Confidence is also high among the wider working population, with 63 per cent of all employees reporting job satisfaction. More than half (57 per cent) of all employees also said it is unlikely they will lose their current main job, while a further 48 per cent said there has been no change to their financial security since the beginning of 2016.

However, public sector employees continue to experience higher levels of pressure and exhaustion at work than any other sector, with 46 per cent saying they come home from work exhausted either often, or all the time, compared to only one-third (33 per cent) of all employees.

Two in five (43 per cent) of public sector workers also reported suffering ‘excessive pressure’ at work at least once a week, compared with 38 per cent of employees in all sectors.

Claire McCartney, associate research adviser at the CIPD, said: “It’s fantastic to see such a leap in job satisfaction in the public sector since our last survey in the spring, especially in such uncertain times for the UK.”

“However, despite this positive outlook from public sector employees, the fact remains that employees in this sector are most likely to suffer with excessive pressure at work and exhaustion. This shouldn’t be overlooked, as it can create real problems for employers and individuals.”

Over a third (36 per cent) of employees surveyed said their organisations supported workers with mental health problems either ‘very’ or ‘fairly well’, while a quarter (25 per cent) said they were not well supported. More employees said they were ‘not very’ or ‘not at all’ (47 per cent) disclosing mental health problems to their employer or manager – only 43 per cent said they were confident to do so.

The report also highlighted employee development and career progression as areas of concerns across all sectors; 33 per cent of respondents said they would not fulfil their career aspirations with their current organisation.

Over a quarter of workers said their organisation is not providing them with opportunities to learn and grow at work, and 24 per cent said they were dissatisfied with the opportunities to develop specific skills in their job.

The failure to deliver successful employee development could be the fault of an implementation gap between the training employees find useful, and the training they receive, the survey suggests.

One gaping mismatch is in job rotation, secondment and shadowing; 92 per cent of employees said they find this useful – but only six per cent experienced it in the last 12 months. Only 59 per cent of employees flagged online learning as useful for their development, but 25 per cent had received it in the past year, suggesting that investment in L&D may not be well targeted.

McCartney said: “Employers need to position line managers to support employees’ career progression,” “This should include having regular development conversations with employees to help them take the steps needed to develop and fulfil their potential. They also need to choose training and development that is right for their staff, not just the most economical.”

Dominique Jones, chief people officer at Halogen Software, said: “[Employers] must start with a talent strategy aligned to the needs of both the organisation and its people. The most effective way to support that strategy is to make performance management an essential part of the day-to-work experience, and direct managers have the largest role to play here.”


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