UK employers face generational divide

The 2022 Wellness at Work report carried out by Employment Hero, surveyed over 2,000 UK employees and highlighted the stark impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had across generations of the workforce.

Career path is less important for younger workers

The report also highlights a sea-change in the attitudes of both younger and older workers towards the importance of career: 45 per cent of younger workers aged 18-24 said COVID-19 has decreased the importance they placed on their career, compared with 35 per cent of respondents aged 55-64. 

Younger generations have also felt the impact of the pandemic more than any other generation on their wellbeing, with 68 per cent of employees aged 18-24 stating that COVID-19 had negatively impacted their mental health, compared with just 35 per cent of employees aged 55-64. 

Stress levels and productivity hit hardest for younger workers 

COVID-19 has also negatively impacted how people work and how they feel at work. The research reveals that 72 per cent of 18-24 year olds agree that COVID-19 had negatively impacted stress levels at work, compared with 63 per cent of 35-44 year-olds and just 46 per cent of 55-64 year olds. 

In terms of productivity, 61 per cent of 18-24 year olds stated that COVID-19 had negatively impacted their productivity at work, compared with 52 per cent of 35-44 year olds and 33 per cent 55-64 year olds. 

Employers have stepped up assistance for workers 

Most employers have invested more in the health and wellbeing of their employees over recent years, alongside better training and development and career progression plans to help employees feel supported and encourage individuals to stay and develop their careers with them. 

The utilisation of remote working has provided more support and a better work-life balance for many, with remote workers 11 per cent more likely to agree they were happy with their mental health.

With the world of work slowly settling into a new normal, there are some encouraging signs that employees are feeling better about their wellbeing – 49 per cent of UK employees rated their work-life balance as good in the last three months. 

Ben Thompson, CEO and co-founder of Employment Hero, said: 

“This research lays bare the impact that COVID-19 has had on employee wellbeing over the past two years. Employees have been questioning the importance they place on their career as their own personal circumstances change. 

“Given the current state of the UK jobs market, it is important for business leaders to prioritise the needs of employees and provide a flexible approach that is more inclusive. The past two years have completely changed the way we define the concept of work, with the adoption of remote working opening up opportunities for working parents, carers and those in rural areas who would otherwise have had more limited opportunities. 

“It is important that employers approach conversations about the way we work as well as how we feel at work with an open and genuine mindset to build an environment where employees feel supported and happy.”

The survey results are available to view in the Wellness at Work report downloadable at: 

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