CIPD: Job satisfaction and stress both higher among public sector workers

Public sector workers report higher rates of job satisfaction than average, but also higher rates of stress, according to the latest Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) Employee Outlook Report for autumn 2016.

For the first time, public sector workers reported the highest rate of job satisfaction in the survey. The national average of employees saying they were satisfied with their job was 63%, rising to 66% in the public sector.

Claire McCartney, associate research adviser at the CIPD, said: “It’s fantastic to see such a leap in job satisfaction in the public sector since our last survey in the spring, especially in such uncertain times for the UK.

“There was a great deal of uncertainty before the referendum, so people might be feeling more settled, and many will be happy with the outcome based on their voting decision.

“Other reasons could include the optimism that usually comes with a new government, and it could be that some of the new messages we’re hearing on fairness and equality might be resonating with public sector workers.”

Over half of staff in all sectors said that the vote to leave the EU would not change their organisation’s costs, although a quarter said they expected it to go up. Furthermore, 57% said they believed it was unlikely that they would lose their current job, although 12% said it was likely.

In contrast, a CIPD survey taken shortly after the referendum found that public sector workers had the highest rates of pessimism about the result.

However, the latest report showed that 43% of public sector workers said they were under excessive pressure at work at least once a week, and 46% said they nearly always came home from work exhausted, compared to national averages of 38% and 33%.

Rehana Azam, GMB national secretary, said: “What this research makes crystal clear is pressure and exhaustion are serious problems in the public sector.

“GMB members recognise that their working environment has pressures but stress like this is not good for their health and is unacceptable.”

McCartney added that it is “crucial that employers address these issues before workers burn out and satisfaction levels take a nose dive”.

Recently, a TUC survey found that public sector union reps are more likely to name stress as a top workplace hazard than in the private sector.

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