Are Brits taking pay cuts to make themselves happier?

Employment & Skills | Surveys

According to a survey commissioned by Wrike, the collaborative work management (CWM) platform for high-performance teams, over half (54%) of UK full-time employees have taken a pay cut to accept a job that made them happier.

Wrike’s Happiness Index polled 4,000 workers in the US, UK, Germany, and France. The compensation, benefits, and perks data set found that, in addition to accepting less money in exchange for happiness, UK adults were also largely uninterested in perks. When asked what the most important benefit in relation to happiness at work was, over a third (34%) said they ‘don’t care about perks’.

“The results of Wrike’s Happiness Index suggest that work perks should be replaced by measures that increase happiness, productivity, and flexibility,” said Patricia DuChene, GM EMEA at Wrike.

“Measures include working from home and flexible hours. The fact that over half of the UK is willing to take a pay cut in exchange for happiness shows how priorities have changed. It should also serve as a wake-up call for employers – if your staff isn’t happy, they will go elsewhere, no matter how good their salaries are.”

The Wrike Happiness Index also indicates that Britain may be ready for a 4-day working week, as was recently discussed by the Trades Union Congress. Nearly half (49%) said that they would be more focused and productive if they worked for four days a week and over a quarter (28%) said they could do their job as effectively in that time, on the basis that their company invested in the right technology, including Collaborative Work Management tools.

DuChene said: “The growing interest in a 4-day work week underscores the need for greater work flexibility. The traditional 9-to-5 is no longer realistic with today’s digital work, but that doesn’t mean people should have to sacrifice life-work balance. Companies that provide their employees with technology that enables more efficient processes and increased productivity will be able to offer the kind of flexibility and balance people are truly looking for and, in turn, will reap the benefits of having a happier workforce.”

Additional key findings

  • Globally, more men (50%) had taken a pay cut to accept a job that made them happier by comparison to women (37%).
  • When asked which reward they would pick if they were given the choice, the most popular choice for UK adults was a gift card (38%), followed by going home early (26%).

Globally, more than one-quarter (28%) said the most important perk in relation to their happiness at work is more or unlimited paid holiday time.

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