· 1 min read · News

UK job satisfaction at lowest level in two years


Reasons for this include poor performance management, lack of skills development and few progression opportunities

Job satisfaction in the UK has dropped to its lowest level for more than two years, according to the latest CIPD/Halogen Employee Outlook report.

It has fallen across all sectors (with a net score of +40, compared to +48 in autumn 2015), but particularly in the private sector (+41, compared with +50 in autumn 2015).

Employees in micro businesses have the highest levels of job satisfaction at +49, but even this figure represents a substantial reduction from autumn 2015 where job satisfaction was 27 points higher at +76.

When investigating possible reasons the researchers found that almost a fifth (23%) of employees believe their organisation’s performance management processes are unfair (up from 20% in autumn 2015). More than a quarter (27%) are dissatisfied with the opportunity to develop their skills in their job, and the proportion who feel unlikely to fulfil their career aspirations in their current organisation has increased to 36% (32% in autumn 2015).

Claire McCartney, research adviser for the CIPD, said the research shows that approaches to job design and career management have not kept pace with the “rapidly changing world of work or with employee expectations".

“Although many organisations are flatter in structure and have adopted matrix ways of working, this can mean routes for career progression are not as clear,” she said. "Despite wider global economic uncertainty employers need to think of new ways to keep their employees engaged and committed.”

Dominique Jones, chief people officer at Halogen Software, said that organisations need to shift to an ongoing performance management approach. “Regular one-on-one conversations between line managers and staff can help improve employee engagement and satisfaction when used to identify new opportunities for development, to ensure clarity on goals and expectations, and to provide coaching and feedback related to performance outcomes,” she said.

“HR plays a critical role here in supporting line managers; guiding them and providing them with the right tools to enable them to listen, measure and act on employee needs.”