Friday, 20 April 2012

Employees prepared to work longer for less.

Survey shows that one in five works longer hours since the onset of the recession, while 16% have seen their salary reduced.

UK employees are increasingly accepting the business argument that they should work longer hours and accept pay freezes or even cuts in the aftermath of the recession, a survey of workers' attitudes for the Guardian suggests.

The poll of 5,002 working adults reveals that one in five work longer hours since the onset of the recession, with 16% saying their annual salary has been reduced.

Pessimism was revealed about the likely pace of economic recovery, with almost a quarter saying they did not expect to receive a pay rise in the next three years despite soaring consumer inflation. Only one in 10 said they expected a promotion at work during the next 12 months.

Yet far from feeling embittered or disengaged, 72% said they were happy in their jobs and only 27% considered it unlikely they would still be working for their current employer in five years' time. The survey also highlights the financial pressures faced by many workers. One in three respondents said they thought they could only survive for a month or less without their salary, with half saying their savings would last a maximum of three months.

Attitudes towards retirement were also revealing. Two-thirds said they expected to retire by the age of 65, yet less than half that proportion feel they have made adequate financial provision for old age. Recent research from Scottish Widows claimed UK workers need to save an extra £58 a month on average to prepare adequately for retirement.

The trend towards acceptance of austerity measures in the workplace comes despite a recent analysis by the High Pay Commission showing how executive salaries were once again rising fast and that the pay gap between rich and poor was spiralling out of control. A separate survey, also conducted by ICM, revealed that 72% of the public thought high pay makes Britain a grossly unequal place to live.

"Average pay growth was slowing before the recession, wages took a real hit during the recession, and we're now seeing very slow wage growth coupled with high consumer inflation," said Nicola Smith, chief economist with the TUC. "There are real issues of fairness at a point when workers are facing the greatest squeeze in living standards for decades."

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