Audit, Inspection and Safety

13.06.19

A fifth of public sector workers have never received a thank you from the people they serve

A fifth of the country’s public sector workers say they have NEVER received a ‘thank you’ for doing their job as Public Service Day approaches.

Almost 5.4 million people are employed in the public sector and civil service in the UK – from nurses to teachers and firefighters to administrators.

But a survey by public sector membership club Boundless has revealed just how under-appreciated they are.

The research, which polled 2004 UK workers in advance of the UN’s Public Service Day on Sunday 23 June, shows:

  • 20% of public sector workers say they have never received a thank you message in their entire career – that equates to more than a million people.
  • 29% in the civil service have never been thanked.
  • 57 days is the average time since someone last said ‘thank you’ to a public sector worker.
  • 90 days has been the wait for a thank you message for someone in the civil service.
  • 7% of all public sector workers haven’t had a thank you message in more than a year.

The shocking figures have prompted Boundless to launch a campaign to put the nation’s hard-working public servants in the spotlight.

Boundless chair Heather Glanville said: “Our lives are touched so often by the millions of people who work in public service in the UK, so it’s shocking to hear how under-appreciated they are.

“From the nurses and midwives who are there when we are born, to the teachers who educate us, the police, fire and ambulance workers who look after us and the administrators who work so hard behind the scenes, they really do deserve our thanks.

“Public Service Day was officially launched by the United Nations as long ago as 2003 but sadly it has been largely overlooked in the UK.

“It’s time to put that right. As our research shows, a simple ‘thank you’, whether that is online, in a letter or in person, can go a long way.”

The statistics also showed:

  • 59% of public sector workers say they don’t feel appreciated enough by the public
  • 26% of public sector workers said being thanked by the public would make them happier in their job – higher than the result for working fewer hours
  • 21% of teachers have never been thanked - and the rest have gone 65 days without a thank you
  • 10% of NHS workers have never been thanked - and the rest have gone 43 days since their last thank you
  • 10% of police have never been thanked – the remainder have gone 30 days without a thank you
  • Every fire fighter says they have been thanked at some time in their career – but it’s been 24 days since the last message

For more information, please visit www.boundless.co.uk/publicserviceday. To join the conversation and share your stories about how public sector workers have supported you, please use the hashtags #PublicServiceDay #timetosaythanks and include @bemoreboundless.

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