New research from the CIPD suggests the quality of jobs in the north of England needs to be improved, following a negative shift in how employees think about work, and its impact on their health. 

Our first Good Work Index North of England report gives valuable insights from over 950 people across Yorkshire and Humber, the North East and North West, reporting across the seven dimensions of job quality.

In the north of England, just under half (46%) of employees view their job as ‘transactional’ (simply a way of making money) – up from 36% in 2019. 

Workers remain wary of the effects of work on their health, with only 23% of employees saying work impacts their physical health positively and around one third (34%) reporting that their work positively affects their mental health.

“This research demonstrates that workers – and particularly those in the public sector – are becoming increasingly dissatisfied and disengaged with work. Employers need to assess the quality of their jobs and consider changes that will create a happier, healthier, and more productive workforce.”

Daphne Doody-Green, Head of CIPD in Northern England

The findings also demonstrate the distinct gap between the quality of working life in the public sector versus the private sector, with those working in the public sector more likely to report an unmanageable workload. Over a third (35%) of those working in the public sector felt their work has a negative effect on their mental health, compared to 25% of private sector employees.

The CIPD is calling on employers in the north of England, and the UK Government, to renew their focus on providing good work and improving job quality, and is citing three key areas to support better working lives in the north of England:

  • A renewed focus on ‘good work’ and improving job quality.
  • Narrowing the gap between the quality of working life in the public sector versus the private sector, to address current challenges and attract future workers.
  • Making work more flexible and attractive, as a sustainable solution to major labour supply challenges.

“Work can, and should be, a force for good. While not all jobs can be transformed, significant improvements in areas such as flexibility, development and people management can play a huge part in improving job quality.”

Daphne Doody-Green, Head of the CIPD in Northern England

The report also gives practical recommendations for employers, people professionals and managers to improve job quality, including:

  • Developing trust, psychological safety, and cohesion among teams at work to build strong interpersonal relationships and create high-performing teams.
  • A boost in recognition of financial wellbeing: understand the implications of financial distress for both employee wellbeing and performance and integrate a financial wellbeing strategy into your wider wellbeing strategy.
  • Enabling staff to have autonomy over their work–life balance and flexible working arrangements by making them aware of and consulting them on hybrid working practices.
  • Encouraging managers to enable employee voice by providing them with training to build their understanding of how they can influence employees’ confidence to raise important issues at work.
  • Improving the organisation’s attractiveness to both potential new recruits and those within the organisation, engaging employees through the recruitment process and helping them to perform at their best. 
  • Developing an engaged and motivated workforce through ensuring staff feel properly supported and have both the autonomy and resources to shape their jobs in ways that suit their lifestyles.

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About the CIPD

At the CIPD, we champion better work and working lives. We help organisations to thrive by focusing on their people, supporting economies and society for the future. We lead debate as the voice for everyone wanting a better world of work.