Women are happier and more enthusiastic at work than men despite gender pay gap

Employment & Skills | National | Surveys
Are women happier than men at work?


As more than 10,000 businesses prepare to file their 2019 gender pay gap data, Personal Group has unveiled research into gender happiness in the workplace.

The research, which is the second annual national survey of this kind from Personal Group, surveyed more than 1550 UK employees about their happiness, enthusiasm, pride, and efficiency at work.

The results may come as a surprise. Despite a median gender pay gap of 17.9% (all employees), women are happier and more enthusiastic about their work, and prouder of the work they do, than their male counterparts.

While money was voted the most important benefit by both men (60.9%) and women (63.3%), the numbers show that women crave recognition more than men (39.8% of men vs. 47.1% of women), which could go some way in explaining why men are still keener overall to get to work in the morning – 29.8% of men compared to 26.8% of women. One reason behind this may be that men more often feel satisfied that they are recognised for their contribution at work.

Deborah Frost, Chief Executive at Personal Group said: “I’m encouraged that Gender Pay reporting continues to drive the conversation around pay discrepancies, and we’re seeing progress at several large organisations including Greggs, H&M and Mitchells & Butlers. However, many organisations have seen their gap stall or even increase. Although this may be due to positive initiatives such as increasing the intake of women at entry-level, these short-term fluctuations in results are only forgivable so long as organisations are also implementing evidence-based initiatives to support a targeted plan and drive meaningful improvements.

Men are not better off than women in every category. Fewer men (34.5%) than women (44.6%) report often feeling happy at work, raising another issue of a gender happiness gap. 44.4% of male company owners and directors are never or rarely keen to go to work in the morning, compared to just 6.3% of women at the same level.

Deborah said: “Closing the gender pay gap and the gender happiness gap requires businesses to ask themselves some difficult questions, and a willingness to act if they discover less-than-satisfactory responses. Making progress will undoubtedly require changes to culture and strategy, but if businesses can make sure they’re communicating openly with their employees around both pay and happiness, everyone will benefit.”

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