• Brits more fulfilled than at any time in the last 18 months
• In Q1 2010, UK workers were unhappier than France, Italy and Germany; now we are more satisfied than the French and Italians – but we still lag behind German workers

UK workers are now more professionally fulfilled than their closest economic competitors in France and Italy – although Brits are still not quite as fulfilled as employees in Germany.

The latest Randstad Fulfilment@Work 2014 report shows 69% of British workers – 21.11 million people – are satisfied with their current employer in Q3 2014.

Just 66% of French employees say they are happy with their current employer – with only 64% of Italians being able to claim the same. But 71% of German workers say they are satisfied with their current employer.

Randstad has interviewed approximately 42,725 employees from the UK, France, Germany and Italy in a set of 19 similar quarterly surveys tracking job satisfaction levels over the course of almost five years.;

Job satisfaction has improved significantly over the last five years. At the start of 2010, job satisfaction in the UK was just 62% and Brits were the least professionally fulfilled of the largest four economies in Europe.

Since then job satisfaction has risen by seven percentage points in the UK. Over the same period job satisfaction has risen by just two percentage points in France. And while Germany has also seen satisfaction levels rise by six points, in Italy, there’s been no improvement at all.

Mark Bull, CEO of Randstad UK, said: “The huge improvements in professional fulfilment levels in the UK have seen Britain overtake a number of its peers in terms of job satisfaction. It’s clear this correction in career contentment has coincided with huge economic progress on our side of the channel – certainly compared to our continental cousins. Over the last three years, the private sector in the UK had started to enjoyed strong job growth – and by October 2013 unemployment had fallen back below 2.5 million for the first time in four years. By July this year, unemployment had fallen to 6.2% . To put that in perspective, unemployment is about 10% in France and 12.3% in Italy . As job security in Britain has risen, and as people are able to move confidently into the right roles for them, satisfaction with employers has soared.”

Mark Bull said: “With real earning growth flat it’s clearly not a question of pay rises keeping people satisfied with their employers. We think this has a lot to do with the improving jobs market. The recession cut off people’s opportunities. They were stuck in jobs they didn’t necessarily enjoy with nowhere to go. Now the jobs market is booming again. Industries of critical importance to the UK such as construction and manufacturing are firing on all cylinders. The financial services industry is back on its feet and demand for accountants is through the roof. There is a massive shortage of developers and project managers in the tech sector. People are now moving to jobs where they are happier – they have options again and that’s reflected in how satisfied they are in their new roles. These results are a reflection of the fact the country has emerged from the shadow of the recession.”


While the UK is beating the comparative developments in job satisfaction in Europe, other Anglosphere nations such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the US have experienced either falls or much less rapid gains in job satisfaction than the UK. In Canada, the level of satisfaction among employees with their current employer has fallen by seven percentage points since Q1 2011 while the US, Australia, and New Zealand have increased by two, three, and four percentage points respectively. Although, at 69%, the UK still has the lowest levels satisfaction levels overall, the twelve percentage point increase is a significant improvement and suggests the UK may soon hit the Anglosphere average of 72%.

Mark Bull said: “The UK’s workforce is well on its way to catching up with the rest of the Anglosphere. This is great news for the domestic economy because we know from our research that higher fulfilment leads to lower absenteeism and fewer people resigning for new jobs. That’s good for the bottom line. Having said that, there is still some way to go before we catch the likes of American and Australia. But we’re heading in the right direction.”

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