Britons working harder than ever, says report
Tough day at work? You are not alone. The intensity of effort required in British workplaces has reached a new high with close to half of workers expected to work very hard and the number of jobs requiring very high-speed work almost doubling since 1992.
More people now work to tight deadlines, with teaching and nursing topping the list of professions demanding very hard work, according to five-yearly research into skills and employment that has been charting changes in our working lives since 1986.
In the 1990s, 55% of nurses reported that their jobs required them to work very hard, compared with 70% last year, a study of more than 3,000 workers by the universities of Cardiff, Oxford and University College London has found.
Almost 40% of teachers reported experiencing high strain at work, compared with just over 10% in 1997. Overall, in 2017 46% of the British employed workforce strongly agreed their jobs required them to work very hard, up from 32% in 1992.
Alan Felstead, the leader of the research team, which is part-funded by the government, described the findings as troubling. They come amid record high levels of employment in the UK, but growing concern about the quality of jobs that are available.
“At a time when real wages are stagnating, our results suggest that workers are working harder and have less scope to carry out their job tasks as they would like” Felstead said.
New technologies that make it possible to fill up otherwise idle moments with work pile on the pressure, the report’s authors said. Extra pressure on teachers and nurses comes from an increased workload with no extra time available. Nine out of 10 teachers reported they often or always come home from work exhausted.
Higher work intensity is associated with lower wellbeing for staff. More than half a million UK workers experience workplace stress, with teachers experiencing twice the average rate, the authors report. Women showed higher levels of exhaustion and strain than men. Professionals and managers are most likely to feel the strain of very hard work and tight deadlines, while people in elementary occupations most commonly report having to work at high speeds.
Warehouse workers for large retail companies such as Amazon and Sports Direct face pressure to work fast from handheld computers that track their movements and productivity.
On the plus side, the perceived risk of losing a job is at its lowest in over 30 years with only 9% of workers believing they were likely to lose their job in the next 12 months, a fall from 18% in 2012. Fewer people also fear pay cuts, but there is concern that workers feel they have less say in what they do in their daily work. The proportion of workers who feel they have a high level of discretion over their work has fallen from more than 60% in 1992 to less than 40% in 2017.
Downing Street’s adviser on modern employment practices, Matthew Taylor, last year warned: “People who have less autonomy over what they do at work tend to report lower wellbeing rates. The same is true of those people working in high-intensity environments. As such, allowing workers more autonomy over the content and pace of their work amongst other things can lead to higher wellbeing for these individuals and increased productivity.
“The sustained and widespread intensification of jobs in Britain is a modern safety and wellbeing issue, potentially inhibiting the ability of many to flourish at work, and becoming a health risk for those who have low control over how they do their jobs,” the report concluded.
Bron: The Guardian