Top firms pay attention to junior staff happiness

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Top firms pay attention to junior staff happiness (image credit: iStock/Wavebreakmedia)

Businesses hoping to maximise efficiency and promote a strong sense of loyalty in their workforce need to ensure they are paying attention to the attitudes and requirements of all of their workers, with many junior staff members feeling this is not the case at present

This is the conclusion of new research from, which paints a fairly grim picture of the current state of working arrangements for many junior staff across the UK - with this group shown to be the least happy out all categories of seniority.

According to the study's findings, a significant proportion of junior staff members feel they are being taken advantage of by their employer, with a considerable disconnect being felt between their own ideas of self-worth and the level of appreciation and support they receive at work.

Overall, 62 per cent of respondents to the survey stated they felt undervalued and deserve a higher wage, while almost half (42 per cent) believe they are being overworked.

Other major issues highlighted by the research included the fact that 46 per cent of junior staff members would like to enjoy flexible working arrangements, as they feel they could be more productive by having the option to work from home.

However, in almost two-thirds of cases (61 per cent) this is an opportunity that is being denied to them at present.

Moreover, despite the high proportion of junior staff that feel they are overworked, 32 per cent do not feel fulfilled by their current role and 29 per cent do not feel challenged professionally.

Peter Ames, head of strategy at, commented: "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."

He added that the introduction of the National Living Wage gives employers the opportunity to ensure all members of staff are being paid a fair amount for their time and effort. However, while larger pay cheques may not always be appropriate for individuals who lack the necessary experience to command a higher salary, the rollout of more flexible working arrangements can play a crucial role in enhancing junior staff satisfaction.

Overall, the desires of junior staff members that would help to ease some of their concerns were shown by the research to include:

  • Pay rises (75 per cent)
  • Bonuses (32 per cent)
  • Flexible hours (32 per cent)
  • A shorter working week (25 per cent)
  • More praise (23 per cent)

Indeed, this final request was especially telling, highlighting the importance of individuals to feel appreciated by their colleagues for the work and effort they put in to their role. This was also the highest proportion of respondents to cite praise as a key driver of happiness out of any category of seniority.

"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," Mr Ames concluded.

The research was published as part of Living Wage Week across the UK, which runs from October 30th to November 5th.