• 73% of those working in IT are professionally fulfilled – highest in UK (average: 62%)
  • But room for improvement: 26% not professionally fulfilled – leading to increased turnover and absenteeism
  • Part of wider study showing UK employees less professionally fulfilled than international peers including Germany, France, US, Canada and Australia
  • Randstad launch drive to improve fulfilment in UK

IT professionals are amongst the most fulfilled workers in the UK according to specialist recruiter Randstad Technologies.

A poll of 2,000 workers from a wide range of different industries revealed that 62% of the UK workforce describes itself as professionally fulfilled. But 73% of IT professionals said they were professionally fulfilled. And while one in eight (13%) of UK’s workers said they were unfulfilled, just one in 17 (6%) working in IT said they were unfulfilled.

Those working in telecoms, administration and those working in the public sector were the least fulfilled (40%, 47% and 49%).

Mike Beresford, managing director of Randstad Technologies, said: “Despite the fact that the research shows that the people working in IT are the most fulfilled workers in the country, this still represents a massive opportunity for employers. If they can boost professional fulfilment in the sector further, they can cut absenteeism and staff turnover which will go straight to the bottom line.”

“Our previous research has found IT professionals are the least proud of their careers. But this clearly hasn’t impacted too heavily on how fulfilled they feel at work, with fulfillment levels in IT remarkably high compared to other industries.”

Poor levels of job satisfaction and professional fulfilment increase absenteeism. The average cost of absence per employee per year is now £975. Across the UK, roughly 160 million working days a year are lost due to absence from the workplace with the total direct cost to the economy now standing at £14bn. Job satisfaction (as well as commitment and work-life balance) also has an important effect on levels of engagement and intention to quit. Furthermore, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy: high staff turnover in an organisation makes it more likely that employees will feel dissatisfied with their job.

how to improve professional fulfillment even further: age

Randstad suggests employers hire more younger and older workers to increase the job satisfaction of their workforces without drastically increasing costs .

Randstad’s research demonstrated that professional fulfilment is at its highest among those at the start or end of their career. More than two thirds (67%) of 18 to 24 year olds feel fulfilled in their professional lives as do two thirds (66%) of those aged above 55.  Fulfilment thendiminishes during the middle of people’s careers – the lowest proportion of those who feel fulfilled at work was among those aged 35 to 44 at 57% .

Mike Beresford said: “The amount of young blood in the IT profession brings massive rewards for the sector’s professional fulfilment.  But there are also huge advantages in terms of fulfilment in keeping on older professionals – quite aside from the returns bought by greater continuity and expertise.  It works for Oracle – Larry Ellison’s almost 70. Youth and experience are one thing – middle age seems to be another. Our research shows a mid-career crisis is a very real phenomenon.  Employers who are keen to increase the overall professional fulfilment of their workforce can ensure they are hiring older professionals as well as passionate young people.  Only 57% of people aged between 55 and 64 are employed in the UK. In the US and Australia, it’s 60 and 61% – there’s plenty of scope for improvement.”

how to improve professional fulfillment even further: variety

A mix of tasks is important to psychological wellbeing in the workplace. Randstad says internal secondments can represent valuable opportunities to introduce more variety into an employee’s career, as well as providing the opportunity to learn new skills.

Mike Beresford said: “Britain’s IT employers could make this work for them either by developing secondments to mix things up a bit or with more creative programs. There are certainly examples of employers using best practices effectively. Google is famous for allowing employees to devote time to personal projects while on the clock.  Its “20% time” allocated staff a day each week to focus on their own creations.  Although introduced as a perk, it was famously responsible for Gmail and Google News but it is less celebrated for its effect on job satisfaction which it would undoubtedly have boosted when it was introduced by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.”

The research was carried out as part of a wider study showing Britain’s workers are amongst the least professionally fulfilled in Europe and the English speaking world.  Randstad interviewed approximately 45,000 employees  from the UK as well as Britain’s English-speaking and European peers over the course of three years to provide data for its Fulfilment@Work report, and launch of a campaign to help people find greater fulfilment, How  I Became.  British workers have had the lowest scores in 9 out of the past 13 quarters when compared to European peers including France and Germany – and 9 out of the last 11 quarters when compared to English speaking countries including the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.  

The Randstad How I Became initiative is a social campaign inspired by the real stories of real people who are fulfilled at work.  A web hub contains films from people who work in a range of business sectors, from education to finance providing key pieces of advice designed to help future candidates on their path to professional fulfilment. The hub is designed to be a dynamic place to find career boosting advice.