New research from Ceridian, one of the largest providers of human resources services in the world, has revealed that more than half of UK employees are working unpaid overtime. Of these, one in five are working the equivalent of an extra three days a week. As well as working additional hours, nearly half (49%) had taken either a pay cut or a pay freeze during the recession.
More than half (56%) of those subjected to a pay freeze felt it would be more than a year before the freeze was lifted. Age is a clear indicator of levels of optimism. 32% of 18-24 year olds believe their pay freeze will end in 4-6 months compared to 8% of over 55’s.
Of the quarter of the workforce that had been rewarded for their extra efforts during the credit crunch the majority had received a cash bonus (22%) rather than a pay rise (17%) indicating that employers are trying to control wage inflation. Where pay rises are not possible there is evidence that employers are becoming more inventive with their reward and motivation tactics, with 61% of employees receiving non-cash benefits. Of these, a quarter were rewarded with more interesting work and a further 18% of the workforce were offered voluntary benefits through flexible schemes enabling the employee to tailor the package that best suits them.
71% of employees are planning to stay with their employees when the upturn comes but a significant proportion of these (29%) are only doing so because of lack of opportunity elsewhere. Of those planning to move employers 35% cite lack of opportunities in their own sector whilst 25% blame the behaviour in the workplace during the recession for the move. More specifically 16% blame the behaviour of their line manager and 9% bullying. Longer hours and extra stress seems to be taking its toll on behaviour in the workplace.
Post upturn 69% of employees believe they should be rewarded for their loyalty with 65% of those wanting financial reward. However a significant number preferred the security of a pay rise (39%) over that of a cash bonus (26%).
Stability and security were also key themes for the upturn with 40% citing job security as their number one priority, which is more than twice as many as those citing a pay rise (18%).
Commenting on the research findings, Jeremy Campbell, Director of HRO at Ceridian said: “Our research shows that many employers are rewarding with more interesting work as an alternative to pay rises. Whilst this helps to build capability for the future and encourages discretionary effort, businesses should also be keeping an eye on workplace stress.
Training line managers to spot the early warning signs of stress within their teams and encouraging use of support services such as employee assistance programmes for personal as well as workplace pressures can make all the difference in keeping sickness absence in check.
It is also important to communicate the true value of the benefits offered to employees. Pay rises may be on hold but increasingly organisations are investing in flexible benefits schemes to give employees greater choice.”
*Employee Attitudes in the Credit Crunch surveyed more than 1000 employees across all UK business sectors