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Voice of the Employee

Junior staff members are the least happy within the UK workforce, according to a recent survey conducted by office-space comparison site Office Genie. The research suggests there are a number of factors contributing to the negativity felt by junior staff in the workplace.

Three quarters of junior staff want a pay rise and, significantly, 62% of them believe they are deserving of a higher wage. When an annual salary on the national minimum wage is as low as £12,649 – worryingly £455 under the National Living Wage – it’s easy to see why this can be cause for major concern and an area for discontent.

Nearly half of junior staff report feeling overworked (46%) but they admit to not feeling fulfilled (32%) or challenged (29%). For their hard work, there also appears to be a lack of praise: after monetary rewards and a shorter working week, junior staff chose ‘more praise’ (23%) as a key workplace motivator. Praise was more important to junior staff than any other seniority level.

A lack of trust also seems to have a negative effect on the wellbeing of junior staff: 46% believe working from home would improve their happiness but they are denied the flexible working privilege. If such measures were in place it may help to prevent the presenteeism that has been found among junior workers. Most junior staff go to work when they are ill (64%) whereas below half of senior management (47%) and business owners (43%) will go into work.

When junior staff feel the least happy of all seniority levels before and after the working day (24% and 22% reported they feel ‘negative’ before and after work, respectively), it’s time companies did more to rectify this. Peter Ames, Head of Strategy at OfficeGenie.co.uk, has the following to say on the findings: “The fact junior staff are the least happy is alarming but not surprising when you consider they appear to be underpaid, undervalued and denied basic rights such as flexible working.”

“Last year we discovered a very similar phenomenon, that young employees were being overworked, and it appears as if little has changed.”

“Living Wage Week gives employers the ideal impetus to ensure they are paying junior workers a fair wage. However ,perhaps most worrying is the denial of flexible working. While junior staff may expect a lack of experience to result in a slightly lower paycheque – flexible working is a fairly universal right.

“It comes down to trust, I’d suggest that the more you trust employees by allowing things such as flexible working, the more you will get out of them.”

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