A third of Brits would rather be happy and unemployed than work in a job that made them unhappy, according to a huge international poll undertaken by recruiter Randstad UK.

The poll, which saw 15,750 people surveyed across the continent of Europe, asked workers in 15 countries if they would rather be unemployed than unhappy in their job. 

More than a third (34 per cent) of Brits agreed with the statement “I would rather be unemployed than unhappy in a job” — and Brits were more likely to agree than 13 of the nationalities polled.  

Workers in Italy, Greece, and Spain were all less likely to prefer unemployment than workers in the UK with only 16 per cent of workers in Luxembourg saying the same.  

At the other end of the spectrum, the French were the most likely to embrace unemployment with 35 per cent saying they would rather be unemployed than malheureux at work.   

Victoria Short, the CEO of Randstad UK, says: “Most employers are worried about their top talent jumping ship.  In the UK, they might find themselves with another rival - unemployment.  While that might sound flippant, there’s a genuine point here.  Participation rates are falling and this is a serious problem for the country and our national talent pool.  Since the start of the pandemic, for instance, almost a quarter of a million Brits aged between 50 and 65 have left their jobs and aren’t looking for new ones.  

“No wonder firms are turning to happiness officers to perk up staff - they’re right to be spending time and money trying to make staff happy.  Employers need to ensure employees are surrounded by great colleagues and are working well together.  If they don’t, employers  will find themselves running out of talent very rapidly. 

“From an employee’s point of view, the job market is white hot.  If you don’t like your current role, put your money where your mouth is,  vote with your feet, and get a new job that stands a chance of fulfilling you professionally.”

I would rather be unemployed than unhappy in a job

  1. Austria  27%
  2. Belgium 28%
  3. Czech Republic 32%
  4. France 35%
  5. Germany 29%
  6. Greece 28%
  7. Hungary 28%
  8. Italy 23%
  9. Luxembourg 16%
  10. Poland 20%
  11. Portugal 29%
  12. Romania 27%
  13. Spain 29%
  14. Switzerland 29%
  15. United Kingdom 34%


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More Information: James@AirCoverPR.co.uk / 079 0320 7726

About Randstad: Founded in 1960, Randstad is the world's largest provider of recruitment and HR services (by revenue, gross profit, and market share), employing more than 40,000 people in 5,000 locations.  In 2021, it generated revenue of almost €25 billion last year across 38 markets.  Last year, Randstad helped more than two million candidates to find a job; trained over 450,000 people; and advised 235,000 clients on various aspects of their HR strategy - from talent acquisition to total workforce management.