Working: what's my motivation?

Some news to set your week off with a whimper: a third of British employees have lost their drive.

Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012

Research from Investors In People has found that 30% of UK workers are suffering a lack of motivation. And in news that’s guaranteed to give HR directors nightmares, 43% are considering leaving their jobs in the next 12 months. So despite the drop in motivation, it’s good to see that the Brits haven’t lost their resilience: ‘Who cares about the credit crisis?’ they ask. ‘I’m quitting anyway.’

So what’s causing this lack of engagement? Eighteen percent cited an unreasonable workload; the same total felt they were underpaid; and 17% complained of a lack of career path, a figure that rises to 24% for those who have been in the job one to two years.

Is this malaise simply symptomatic of higher demands of the ‘me’ generation, in which everything from iPods to property shows drive home the message that we’re entitled to what we want when we want? (You can almost hear the mutterings of ‘In my day, we were too busy earning a crust to worry about motivation…’). Or is there something more deeply wrong with the way our employees are treated? Either way, the results hardly suggest a happy outcome for UK plc.

An uncomfortably high 28% of respondents said they felt unsupported by their managers. Time to break out the group hugs perhaps. Meanwhile the lowest levels of motivation are found among public-sector workers. Where have we heard that before? Forty-one percent said they were not very or not at all motivated. Half said they were thinking of changing jobs within the next year.

Of course, it could be said that this attitude is the inevitable conclusion of a relatively easy 10 years. Who knows, in a year or so, should the economic slowdown really begin to bite, people may suddenly become more inclined to count their blessings.

The present reality, meanwhile, may be far worse than the figures suggest. How many workers were so de-motivated they couldn’t even be bothered to complete the survey?

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