Governance

New polling reveals ‘trust gap’ between UK workers and employers

Only one third (36%) of UK workers agree that their employers provide opportunities for them to be involved in the running of the company.

Exclusive new polling from the Social Market Foundation (SMF) and Grant Thornton UK LLP, conducted by Populus, reveals the extent of the ‘trust gap’ between UK workers and their employers.

The survey finds that trusting the company they work for, and feeling valued and listened to, are among the most important factors contributing to job satisfaction among UK workers. However, the data reveals that there is often a large gap between these factors and the experience reported by UK workers:

  • 89% of UK workers say that trusting the company they work for is important for their job satisfaction, yet only 65% agree that they trust the company they work for. (-24%)
  • 89% of UK workers saying that feeling their contribution at work is valued is important for their job satisfaction, yet only 66% agree that this is the case in the company they work for. (-23%)
  • 86% of UK workers say that having their superiors at work listen to them is important for their job satisfaction, yet only 61% agree that this is the case in the company they work for. (-25%)

The polling also shows that the Prime Minister is right to say that many UK workers feel as though they have no say in how the company they work for is run. Only one third (36%) of UK workers agree that the company they work for provides opportunities for them to be involved in the running of the company. One third (37%) disagree, with 16% disagreeing strongly.

There is a noticeable difference in the perceptions of workers from different social classes. AB workers (45%) are most likely to agree that they have opportunities to be involved in the running of the company they work. One third of C1 (36%) and C2 (35%) also agree, however only one quarter (24%) of DE workers who agree.

Younger workers are more likely to agree than older workers that their company provides them with opportunities to be involved in the running of the company (45% of 18-24 year olds agree; while only 27% of those aged 55-64 agree).

There is also a difference between the perceptions of employees in the private and public sectors. Those working in the private sector are more likely to agree (39%) that they have opportunities to be involved in the running of the company they work for than those working in the public sector (only 27% agree).

The survey also found that only half (51%) of UK workers agree that the company they work for treats all of its employees fairly regardless of seniority. One quarter (25%) disagree, with 11% disagreeing strongly.

Sacha Romanovitch, CEO, Grant Thornton UK LLP said:

“Theresa May is right to focus on strengthening trust in business and organisations empowering their people is key to this. Business needs to move away from the command and control way of operating and enable their people to have their say and take responsibility in how their business operates. The work we have undertaken with the SMF demonstrates there is strong appetite amongst employees to take shared responsibility in their workplace.

“Good governance is in the interest of investors, shareholders, consumers, suppliers and especially employees. The Prime Minister’s indication at the CBI annual conference that the government’s emphasis will be on the need for change, whilst indicating that will not be overly prescriptive in how boards approach this is welcome. We need to encourage innovative approaches and a change in corporate culture rather than "tick box" compliance.”