By s1jobs

While much has changed in the world of work during the past 15 months of Covid, some things have remained the same, one of which appears to be the quality of employment available in the UK.

Surveys conducted as part of the 2021 Good Work Index produced by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) found that job quality has not declined despite the massive upheaval caused by the pandemic. Questioning more than 6,250 workers on issues such as pay, benefits, work-life balance and relationships at work, the survey found there had been very little change during the past year, with responses to most questions either flat or varying by just a few percentage points.

That’s not to say there is no cause for concern about employee wellbeing and job quality. Evidence of widespread strain on the workforce was palpable even before the onset of Covid-19.


In the latest CIPD survey, roughly a quarter of people felt their work was bad for their physical or mental health. Nearly a third said their workload was “unmanageable”, and 24% reported difficulty relaxing during their personal time.

There was also a marked contrast in opinions on job quality between those of different occupations and levels of seniority.

Of those in “routine” occupations, only 33% said their managers were good at seeking out the views of employees, compared with 55% of those in managerial and professional occupations. Similarly, just 27% of workers in routine jobs said they had access to opportunities to develop their skills, compared to 63% in managerial and professional roles.

READ MORE: Conundrum of the mysteriously shrinking workforce

With no marked deterioration in the overall findings, organisations with seemingly more pressing concerns might be tempted to leave well enough alone. However, it is clear there is much to be done in redressing the gaps between those who feel neglected and the rest.

Employees who are dissatisfied with the quality of their job may be hesitant to move on right now while the recovery from the pandemic is still fragile, but that won’t last forever. With growing skills shortages across many industries, it’s only a matter of time until the best members of staff start looking elsewhere to improve their fortunes.

Now’s the time that astute employers will start looking at how to improve job quality and employee wellbeing at all levels, leaving them best-placed as the competition for talent inevitably grows fiercer.

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