New research released from the CIPD, exploring the quality of working lives in the UK, suggests employees in Wales are dissatisfied with their pay, with just 42% of workers feeling they are paid appropriately.

The figures also suggest that 36% of workers are struggling to pay their bills and meet existing commitments from time to time, with 14% of workers saying it’s a ‘constant struggle’ to keep up with paying them. However, overall job satisfaction shows that Wales is on par with the rest of the UK, with results showing that two-thirds of workers are satisfied with their job.

The results are from the CIPD’s Good Work Index 2023 report, which surveyed more than 5,000 UK workers, including 545 Welsh workers, across seven key dimensions of good work: pay and benefits, contracts, work-life balance, job design and nature of work, relationships at work, employee voice, and health and wellbeing.

Lesley Richards, head of the CIPD in Wales, said:

“Despite the upheaval of recent years, the labour market has remained remarkably resilient, but our report has highlighted a concern over dissatisfaction with pay in Wales. Based on the latest statistics, we know that Wales had the lowest average weekly earnings of all UK nations [1], reflected by the economy and cost-of-living compared to other nations and regions.

“However, during a cost-of-living crisis where research shows that inequalities in Wales are being exacerbated [2] and energy bills disproportionately affecting those in more rural communities [3], it possibly demonstrates why satisfaction on pay is low.”

Aside from pay, there is a more mixed experience of job quality in Wales, especially between private sector and public sector roles. Workers in the public sector are more dissatisfied than their private sector counterparts with pay and several non-pay related issues, which is reflected by the UK-wide results. Specifically, public sector workers are more likely to feel the negative effects of work on their mental health, and more likely to feel excessive pressure, exhaustion and too great a workload in their roles.

Looking across both private and public sector in Wales, employees report mixed feelings on the effect of work on their health, with only around one-third of respondents saying work affects their mental (37%) and physical health (31%) positively.

While most people have a reasonable work-life balance, significant minorities do not. More than a quarter (28%) of workers in Wales said they found it difficult to meet commitments in their personal life because of the time they spend at work, with carers in the UK struggling the most.

Lesley Richards continues:

“These findings show us that most people are, overall, satisfied with their job. And there are aspects of job quality that are clearly showing signs of positivity, notably strong working relationships, satisfaction with line managers and maintaining a healthy work-life balance through working with flexibility and autonomy. Work can and should be good for us. It’s vital that the Welsh Government and employers renew their commitment to good work as it’s fundamental to supporting individual wellbeing, fair society, productive organisations and a strong economy.”

Read the report

Notes to editors

  • This survey report is based on the sixth annual UK Working Lives survey conducted in 2023. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 5139 adults, with 545 of those from Wales. Fieldwork was undertaken between 12th December 2022 - 9th February 2023. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK working adults (aged 18+). 
  • References: [1],UK%20countries%20and%20English%20regions. 

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