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Great Discontent UK priorities: clarity, culture, & compensation

This is a modified section from Workable's comprehensive new survey report on the Great Discontent in 2023 in the United Kingdom. Visit here to see the report in full.

Keith MacKenzie
Keith MacKenzie

Passionate about human resources, employment, and business management, and an expert at sharing that expertise.

What are UK workers interested in right now when it comes to jobs? We have data for you from the Great Discontent 2023 worker survey.

What do UK workers want now?

Our Great Discontent 2.0 survey report contains a wealth of data revealing how employee priorities in the UK have changed since 2021. Learn more here.

View the report highlights

As an employer looking to attract and – more importantly – retain talent, Workable’s Great Discontent survey report for 2023 for the UK should provide you with a sharper north star going forward. We asked 500 UK workers and we understand what’s going on in that mindset.

What the survey’s resulting dataset reveals is that your employees (and candidates) put a huge value on clarity in their jobs. This means clarity in what’s expected of them in their day-to-day work, clarity in career paths and opportunities, clarity in communications, and so on.

They also really like flexibility in working schedules and locations, connection with their colleagues and leadership, and a more humane approach to the workplace.

What else? Compensation, unsurprisingly, reigns supreme. It’s not that people love money – it’s that they want (and need) to be compensated fairly for the work they put in.

This was always the case. But it’s even more so now, and workers are indeed getting it. Flexible work is becoming standard in many jobs – especially when it comes to setting one’s hours. Compensation is growing as a major priority (even if inflation is prompting it).

But most of all: the expectation is that a job isn’t just a “job”, but a livelihood. When you’re putting 40-some hours of your life every week into work, you want it to actually mean something.

The remote work conversation is also an interesting one. It’s no longer a stopgap reaction to COVID-19. We’ve had a few years of experience with this in the UK, and now, it’s finding its groove. The workforce loves the flexibility that comes with remote work, and they want to keep it as part of the new status quo.

Community is huge as well. Company culture and executive leadership are seen as the glue that holds everything together. Career growth is also top of mind for today’s workers in the UK – and they’ll respond to that opportunity whether it’s in your company or another.

So: what does this tangibly mean for you, the employer? When your company is struggling to roll with the punches, especially during these volatile times, you’re likely calling on your teams to roll with the punches too.

That’s fair, of course. The question is – will they roll with you? Maybe, maybe not. Which begs the even more important question: how can you set it up so that they *will* roll with you?

The answer is clear from our survey. While people are more hesitant to move jobs than they were before, they will move for the right opportunity. However, they will stay with you when they’re engaged in the work and in the company – and while engagement is a two-way street, a lot of it falls on you to build that optimal experience so your teams will stay with you for the long haul. Retention is a very real thing.

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