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Many senior employees feel unfulfilled by jobs

Managers and professional workers feel stuck in roles they don’t enjoy, according to research

Coaching firm Rutbusters surveyed 1,000 UK managerial and professional workers and found that 14% feel they have been ‘stuck in a rut for quite a period of time'. One in 10 said they are unhappy at work.

Managers and executives reported feeling persistently ‘very demotivated’ (12%), with low energy (12%), unfulfilled (13%), and/or ‘trapped’ (13%).

The IT and telecoms sector has the highest proportion of managers stuck in ruts (28%) of all sectors, with 17% reporting that they are unhappy at work.

By contrast the creative and media industry has the most satisfied managers, with 48% saying they do not often feel demotivated, and 46% stating that they did not feel as though they had been in a rut.

Kedge Martin, CEO of Rutbusters, said that demotivation among management could be disastrous for productivity: “Having 10% or more of your management team hating their job is a pretty big drag on any business, yet our research found this is the norm across British organisations. There is a huge need to help them reboot and re-engage with their work.”

She added that the approach taken towards wellbeing at work is often far too reactive. “Currently there is rightly a move to be much more open about mental health and wellbeing issues. But too often organisations focus on mopping up problems only once they get serious,” she said.

“We are keen to start a national debate about dealing with the widespread but hidden problem of the misery and feelings of being stuck endured by as many as one million successful executives and managers day in and day out.”

Despite feeling unhappy, switching jobs is not an easy solution for many employees, Martin said: “Moving to another job may seem like a straightforward alternative, but for people who have lost self-confidence this route is filled with fear. For many it will mean a loss of status and income for their family.”

Employers should provide regular feedback to combat this, she added: “The normal approach when things get bad, which is potentially the worst for all concerned, is for an employee to take stress-related leave; for the member of staff to be sidelined or face performance management action; or simply wait for them to retire.

“Instead employers should be more positive and open, and have regular broader (i.e. not only career) reviews so that senior professionals can talk openly about how they might get back the fulfilment that is missing from their working lives, re-energise their management and influence on their team, or else make a pragmatic decision to move on."