Every year we survey thousands of workers to find out what it’s like to work in the UK, to provide employers with a benchmark of job quality and inspire them to improve work and working lives in their organisations 

This year’s survey revealed that a quarter of UK employees - an estimated 8 million people - have experienced workplace conflict in the past year.   

The most common forms of conflicted reported were:  

  • being undermined or humiliated at work (48%)  
  • being shouted at or having a heated argument (35%)  
  • receiving verbal abuse or insult (34%)  
  • experiencing discriminatory behaviour(20%). 

The consequences for engagement, productivity and wellbeing are major concern for employers: 

  • 42% said they felt exhausted all or most of the time, compared with 18% of those who reported no conflict. 
  • 37% said they felt under pressure all or most of the time, compared with 15% of those who didn't experience any conflict. 
  • Only 28% said their work had positively impacted their mental health, compared with 43% per cent of those who didn’t experience conflict.  
  • A quarter (25%) said their work had a positive impact on their physical health, compared with 32% of those who didn’t experience any conflict. 

Those who experienced conflict also had less confidence in senior leaders’ ability, less trust in them to act with integrity, and lower perceptions of managers to enable employee voice. All this hihglights how crucial it is to take early action to prevent conflict at work.  

“Reducing conflict should be part of an employer’s overall strategy to improve work quality. Training can help line managers foster more positive relationships and reduce the likelihood of conflict occurring”. 

Jake Young, Senior Policy and Practice Adviser, CIPD 

In response to these findings, the CIPD is encouraging employers to consider the role of their people teams in creating more positive workplace cultures and employee experiences:

  • focus on line management training to enable managers to build more positive relationships in their teams and address areas of conflict early on, 
  • pinpoint and address the underlying causes of conflict, including excessive workloads, exhaustion and pressure  
  • encourage open and supportive work environments, where employees can feel they have a voice.

“Creating an employee experience that delivers the best outcomes for people and business is crucial to good work. We need to ensure our people teams have the capability, confidence and credibility to influence the business and drive change in our workplaces.” 

Adam Stanbury, Head of Employer Solutions, CIPD

Now in its seventh year, the CIPD Good Work Index provides employers and people professionals with evidence-based insights and practical guidance to help people professionals, employers and policy-makers to drive improvements to work and working lives. If you’d like to discuss how we can help you increase your people team’s impact, get in touch with our employer solutions team. 

This year, we surveyed 5,496 workers across different sectors and occupations, about key aspects of their work and employment. Throughout June we’ll also publish four local reports:  

  • 18 June - North of England   
  • 25 June – Wales  
  • 27 June – Northern Ireland   


On 20 June, we will also publish the fifth Working Lives Scotland report which focuses on job quality in Scotland, adapting the CIPD Good Work Index to the Scottish Fair Work Framework. 

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Championing better work and working lives

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. 

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