Workers 'taken for granted' by employers?

A survey suggests employees are putting in more hours and getting paid less than they were before the recession.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 20 Mar 2012
It’s a miserable side effect of any downturn that businesses have to make cuts to their workforces, thus landing the lucky few who remain with extra work. So it’s no surprise that workers feel a bit down in the dumps at the moment. What’s not good, though, is the result of a survey by recruiter Hyphen, which found that 70% of employees feel a bit, well, taken for granted at the moment. And what’s worse is, the majority said their employer expects them to be grateful for having a job. Harsh.

The survey, of 1,000 employees, says that more than a quarter are still putting in more hours than they were before the recession, which suggests that even during the period when things weren’t looking quite as bleak, economically speaking, than it is now,  businesses were making do. 17% of the survey’s respondents added that they’ve had to take on more responsibility than was originally set out in their job descriptions, while another 17% said they’ve actually had to take a pay cut.

Of course, with a lot of unsatisfied employees, comes a propensity for job hunting. Thus, a majority of workers said they were looking around for another job. What would it take for them to stay? 67% said a salary increase would do the trick (natch), while more than half said they’d like more flexible benefits, and almost 40% wanted a better work/life balance (although if they’re having to take on extra work, there’s not much chance of that). A third added that they’d like ‘clear career development opportunities’. Fair enough…

It’s worth mentioning at this juncture that, even during the good times, lots of workers feel taken for granted. But considering the fact that Hyphen has every right to be rubbing its hands together in anticipation of all those spare roles it could be filling, the firm is surprisingly keen to help employers cheer up their workers. ‘Employers would be well advised to look at the overall experience of working in their organisation,’ encourages MD Zain Wadee. Indeed. After all – if your employees are going to put in 80-hour weeks, you might as well make your office a pleasant place to be…

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