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30 November 2021
How to understand the data on the 'perfect job'
Health & well-beingMoney & finance
A recent survey by office equipment supplier Raja Workplace of 2000 UK workers discovered what people really want from a job, the aspirations they have for their working lives and what that means strategically.
Why it matters
Workers are ordinary people, who would like more money, more routine time off, and to live closer to their workplaces (or would like to work closer to their homes). It’s not only about understanding the pressures people face, but how the deeper trends they speak will likely inform our cities and economies, how they will buy, and how to sell to them.
Naturally, there’s a business hook – Raja Workplace, who commissioned this research, sells office equipment – but aside from a desire for comfortable seating, clean desks, and good storage, all of which the company sells, there’s plenty to unpack.
At its core, the research breaks down to the following five key desires:
A 21-30 hour working week
Salary of £44,355 per year
29 days annual holiday per year
Commute between 16-20 minutes
A supportive boss
What it means
People want to work less. It appears that 2020 saw a 3.5 hour drop in average weekly hours worked, according to ONS data, though coming back into 2021 this has increased again. Whether it is immediately adopted or not, and some companies are looking to get ahead of the curve for welfare or environmental reasons, we’re looking at a potentially significant shift in the shape of people’s lives.
More money. Average weekly pay, also according to the ONS, reflects an average salary lower than the £44,355 that the ‘perfect job’ pays. Effectively, people are short on non-work time and short on money. Both, unsurprisingly, are leading causes of stress.
Holiday, however, is largely unchanged. Most people have around 28 days holiday in the UK (it’s technically statutory, but firms can fiddle with bank holiday allowance in the contract of employment) and the 29th day desired here is no great change. But it points to the importance not of more irregular time off but the need for more regular time in their typical weeks.
A minimal commute. Another potential long-term casualty of the shift to home working. Whether for the bosses who commute in from the green belt to the juniors rumbling through town on their hour-long bus journey, it was long and often expensive for everyone. Ideas like the 15-minute city should be interesting here, as they carry the potential to truly reshape work, retail, housing, and transport. That’s if the vision can go beyond the building of luxury apartments with a couple of shops underneath.
Finally, a supportive boss – who doesn’t want that?