Women are happier and more enthusiastic at work than men despite the 17.9% UK gender pay gap

Women are happier and more enthusiastic at work than men despite the 17.9% UK gender pay gap

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

2nd April 2019 – As more than 10,000 businesses prepare to file their 2019 gender pay gap data, technology-enabled employee services business 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 are surprising. 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.

Interestingly, whilst 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 feel, to a greater extent than women, 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, and 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. 

 “Regardless, it’s clear that UK businesses still have a long way to go. Our research echoes this frustrating state of affairs: it’s no surprise that more money and more recognition are the most in-demand benefits amongst women when asked how employers could increase their workplace happiness.

“Despite women being paid less, they are actually happier and more enthusiastic at work compared to men, with just 34.5% of male employees saying they often feel happy at work. This is just as concerning and is something that British businesses must explore further and work to improve.

“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.”

Key highlights from the research include:

 Keen to get to work in the morning

  • 4% of male company owners and directors are never or rarely keen to go to work in the morning versus only 6.3% of their female counterparts at the same level.
  • For frontline employees there is an equal level of reluctance to go to work in the morning with over 50% of staff, regardless of gender, rarely or never keen to get to work in the morning (51.2% women and 50.4% men).
  • 8% of men are keen to get to work when they get up in the morning either quite often or most of the time, compared to 26.8% of women.
  • Looking at women, those at junior and frontline roles are the least keen to get to work when they get up in the morning, with keenness rising with respondents’ increasing seniority.
  • Amongst male respondents, those most keen to get to work in the morning are those at senior manager and department head level.

 Happiness in the workplace

  • Almost 45% (44.6%) of women said that they’re happy at work either quite often or most of the time, compared to just over a third (34.5%) of men.
  • 9% of men said that more money would make them feel happier at work, compared to 63.3% of women.
  • Recognition is the second most important benefit for both men (39.8%) and women (47.2%), although it is valued by a much larger proportion of women.
  • Men are more in favour of longer-term benefits, such as life and health insurance. 33.8% said these would make them happier at work, compared to just 27.0% of women.
  • Women are more in favour of instant benefits than men, with 14.9% saying these would make them feel happier at work compared only 10.0% of men.

 Enthusiasm about the job

  • Women are more enthusiastic about their job, with 42.8% saying they’re enthusiastic either quite often or most of the time, compared to 36.1% of men.
  • Women at director and company owner level are the most enthusiastic of all female workers about their jobs, with 87.5% agreeing they are enthusiastic about work most of the time / quite often.
  • Men at senior manager and head of department level are the most enthusiastic of all male workers, with 64.7% agreeing they are enthusiastic about work most of the time / quite often.

 Proud of the work

  • There is little difference in the pride that men and women have in their work – over a third of both genders feel proud of what they do most of the time (33.1% of men and 34.9% of women).
  • Pride in work appear to increase with seniority for both genders with less frontline employees feeling proud of their work most of the time (31.2% women and 23.8% men) than company owners and directors (62.5% women and 55.6% men).

Work as something important and worthwhile

  • More women (54.9%) feel that their job is important and worthwhile, compared to men (48.2%).
  • 50% of company owners and directors (regardless of gender) feel that their job is important and worthwhile most of the time. However, for frontline employees only 15.4% of men and 23.4% of women share this view.

 Working as efficiently as possible

  • Over half (56.3%) of female company owners and director believe that, at best, they are only working as efficiently as possible some of the time versus less than a quarter (23.1%) of their male counterparts.
  • Amongst senior management and department heads over 60% (61.5%) of women believe that, at best, they are only working as efficiently as possible some of the time versus 41.2% of men working at the same level.

For further information and insight, ‘Closing the Gender Pay Gap - The Link Between Pay and Happiness’ is available.

- Ends -

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