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Why do we work? Our research says only 16% have a passion for it

1 December 2017 Data Insights

They say that if you choose a job you love, you’ll never do a days’ work in your life. But, our recent survey of 2,000 working Brits* suggests only 16% of people leap out of bed each day purely for their love of working. Our top three motivators that keep us clocking in are that it enables us to live, support our families, and pay our mortgages.

What gets us out the front door?

It’s drilled into us from childhood that we should follow our passion and build a career based upon it, but just 16% said they go to work each day for the passion, and just 21% go in to build their career and knowledge.

The main factors for showing up to work were far more practical, with going in simply to live was a reason for 72%, and 50% said part of why they work is to support their families.

And, as for education, well over half of Brits (67%) claimed that their chosen degree had little or nothing to do with securing their existing job role.

Top 5 reasons why Brits go to work each day

  • To be able to live – 72%
  • To support family – 50%
  • To pay the mortgage – 50%
  • To build career and knowledge – 21%
  • Passion for the job – 16%

Despite the majority of us seemingly not living for work, 74% of Brits said they do in fact like their jobs. So, what turns us off in an employer? Unsurprisingly, 77% said that a job offering zero perks would be hugely off-putting, and 48% said having 20 days holiday or less a year would also switch them off.

Not liking something about an employer is one thing, but what about the stuff that demotivates a workforce? No progression opportunities came top of the list with 19% of Brits, closely followed by pay-cuts and lack of support from line managers, which were each chosen by 17% of survey respondents.

Show me the money

When it comes to the overall most important aspect of choosing a job, salary is the key factor for 86% of Brits. And, what use is having money when you don’t have the holidays to spend it on? A close second was the benefit of 20-plus days holiday per year, with 79% of respondents marking this as important.

72% are thinking ahead to retirement, placing a company pension as third most important. Flexible working was also popular, as 69% said this was a significant aspect of a job, suggesting that businesses may want to be sure their flexi-working policies are appealing if they are to attract the right talent.

Top 10 most important aspects of a job

  • Salary – 86%
  • 20-plus days holiday – 79%
  • Pension – 72%
  • Flexible working – 69%
  • Bonus – 55%
  • Private healthcare – 38%
  • Maternity – 34%
  • Team socials – 29%
  • Discounts – 27%
  • Childcare – 25%

Festive workloads

With Christmas just around the corner, we decided to find out if the festive period applies added pressure in the workplace.

While 80.5% of Brits admitted they would be enjoying some annual leave in December, 37% said they expect to feel more pressure from their workload throughout the month. 59% said they would be doing some overtime, and over half (55%) of those working overtime said they would be doing so with no extra pay.

Our survey highlighted that salary, holiday, and pension schemes are very much still in demand from the working British public, and more modern benefits such as flexible working are fast becoming key motivators when it comes to choosing our employer of choice.

As for what gets us out of bed, there might only be 16% of us who clock in every day purely for the love of the job, but nearly 3 in 4 do like our jobs. So while most are doing it for the money, we’re in that job because we want to be.

*Survey based on a sample of 2,000 UK professionals.

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