UK workers express job satisfaction despite Blue Monday but still lag behind European counterparts for wellbeing

13 January 2022

Despite widescale assumptions around Blue Monday (17 January) being the bleakest day of the year, workers are expressing overall satisfaction with their day-to-day job. This is according to new research from SD Worx, the leading European HR and payroll specialist.

Over half (53%) of UK workers have fun at work at least once a week, with one in ten (9%) saying they find joy in their jobs every day. The majority (71%) of UK workers perceive themselves as contributing positively to their organisations, and only a small fraction (5%) say they never enjoy work.

Although the UK workforce generally expresses career contentment, UK employees still lag behind European counterparts for job satisfaction. Where more than half (56%) of UK workers feel passionate about their work, a staggering three out of four (76%) Dutch workers feel the same. This is followed by Belgium (63%) and Germany (59%). The UK can boast slightly higher levels of worker passion than France (53%).

Feeling engaged in work responsibilities and roles could be the key to keeping active, confident and happy. When it comes to going above and beyond in a role, UK workers are overperforming daily. Nearly one in five (17%) say they do more than is asked of them every day. This is compared to 15% in the Netherlands, 14% in Belgium, 10% in France and 10% in Germany. Putting in extra hours and energy into roles corresponds to the majority (62%) feeling healthy and fit at work.

When it comes to maintaining a positive balance in work, employees rely on the careful management of good team integration alongside the allowance for autonomy. Across Europe, over two-thirds (69%) of workers feel involved in the work and assignments they do. The majority (68%) enjoy the support and help of others in their roles, and nearly eight in ten (78%) say that they are granted significant independence to undertake responsibilities.

Colette Philp, UK HR Country Lead at SD Worx says: "We can see cautious optimism about employee job satisfaction in Europe, but we should not lose sight of the fact that many people are also finding their work hard and stressful. We’ve learned from the Great Resignation that employees will leave roles due to lacklustre company cultures, so around Blue Monday employee wellbeing needs to be high on the agenda of the C-suite, if companies want to avoid massive staff churn.

“We’re finding that UK employees are going above and beyond to help their companies, but leaders need to be aware that burnout is a real concern – workers shouldn’t feel unfairly pressured into overtime. Keeping employee needs top-of-mind is key here, as it will let leaders reap rewards down the line. A workforce that is motivated and engaged will propel companies and their services to success in 2022. After all, happy and driven employees are the foundation for good business.”

About the survey

To ascertain these findings, SD Worx surveyed 5,000 employees across Belgium, France, UK, Germany and the Netherlands.