Over six in 10 Scottish employees experience ‘job happiness’

How happy are Scottish workers? The Robert Half 'Job Happiness Index' measures employee satisfaction and offer employers staff retention tips

  • More than half (55%) think it’s unlikely they’ll switch jobs this year
  • Salary is still a key concern: 39% of Scots are dissatisfied with their salary, the highest in the UK
  • Robert Half highlights warning signs that your employees may be running on empty

Edinburgh, 23 April 2014 – Six in 10 (61%) Scottish employees are happy in their jobs, with one in five (20%) of these going so far as to say they are very happy, according to the  ‘Job Satisfaction Index' by specialist recruiter Robert Half UK.

The index - which looks into work attitudes among full and part time employees - also reveals that of those surveyed, more than half (55%) of employees in Scotland think it’s unlikely they’ll switch jobs this year. In contrast, three in four (76%) of Scottish C-suite executives have - in a separate study2 - admitted that they are concerned about losing top performers.

Remuneration remains a key driver for employees and the index highlighted the extent of dissatisfaction around salaries. Scottish employees are the most dissatisfied in the UK with nearly four in 10 (39%) stating they are unhappy with their salary, compared to 27% of employees nationally. A higher base salary would be the deciding factor when considering a new job for 40% of Scots.

Other reasons for switching jobs this year include ‘boredom in their current role’ (14%), ‘dissatisfaction with company leadership’ (12%) and a lack of ‘promotional opportunities’ (11%). Less than one in 10 (9%) would switch jobs for a better work/life balance, lower than the UK average, which stands at 14%.

Kris Flanagan, Senior Manager, Robert Half Scotland commented: “Top performers are instrumental in helping organisations grow. With remuneration a particular concern for Scottish employees, ensuring that salaries are commensurate with the job role will help employers attract and retain the most sought after talent. Using industry resources, like the Robert Half Salary Guide, will help businesses benchmark salaries and remain competitive.

“Leading organisations know that financial remuneration is only one factor affecting candidates’ decisions – work-life balance is another. Hiring temporary staff can help relieve workload pressure and ensure that employees do not suffer from workplace ‘burnout’, while still ensuring that critical initiatives remain on track.”

Robert Half’s top four signs that an employee may quit:

  • A noticeable change in attitude: A formerly enthusiastic individual may become withdrawn and indifferent while performing his or her role
  • Longer lunch breaks and frequent absences: This may be a sign that the employee is using the time for job interviews. It also can mean the individual is bored with his or her work
  • More professional attire: Does the person come to work in business dress even though your company has a casual/semi-casual dress policy?
  • A drop in productivity: Perhaps an employee who used to take projects home or work overtime no longer does. Also, forgetfulness about deadlines, meetings and appointments could indicate a worker who is gradually disconnecting from a job

How employers should respond:

What should you do if you see these red flags? It’s definitely not the time to take a “wait-and-see” approach. Rather, it’s best to ask the employee if he or she is planning to leave. If you discover the employee is preparing to quit, the following are some suggestions for handling the situation:

  • Emphasise the employee’s value and opportunities:  If you risk losing a key employee, consider offering an incentive to stay. Stress the person’s value to the organisation and discuss future career opportunities with the company. However, don’t promise more than you can deliver
  • Don’t pin your hopes on a counteroffer: Making a counteroffer is still a risky business for both you and the employee. Even if the individual accepts your offer, the “trust exchange” between you has been compromised. From that point on, you may doubt his or her loyalty
  • Leave the door open: If a valued employee decides to leave, tell the person to feel free to contact you if things don’t work out with the new position. Express that you would be happy to have him or her join your team again.

The ‘Job Satisfaction Index’ infographic is available to view here.


Notes to editors

About the Survey

1.  Opinium Research conducted an online survey from the 28 – 31 March with 1196 working UK adults aged 18+.

2. Market Probe conducted an executive survey in January 2014 with 406 UK C-Suite executives. Results were segmented by region, company size and company type.

About Robert Half

Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500. We have once again been named to FORTUNE’s “World’s Most Admired Companies®” list and remains the top-ranked staffing firm (February 2020). Founded in 1948, the company has over 300 offices worldwide providing temporary, interim and permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, legal and administrative professionals. Robert Half offers workplace and jobseeker resources at roberthalf.co.uk and twitter.com/roberthalfuk.