Indeed’s ‘Meaning of Work’ report combines data from our UK platform with new insights from a nationwide YouGov survey to analyse current attitudes towards pay, progression and purpose at work.

Key findings:

  • UK workers are ready for a four-day working week: 74% claim they could do their job to the same standard in four days as they do in five.
  • Salary is the most important aspect of people’s current job, ranked a top concern by 57% of employees. Work/life balance is almost equally important at 55%.
  • UK workers who prioritise work/life balance would be happy earning £6,000 less annually than those who are not concerned with work/life balance.

The UK labour market is at a pivotal moment. More people of working age have a job than ever before, unemployment is at its lowest level since the mid-1970s, and more women and other under-represented groups are in the workforce.

But it’s not all blue skies. Pay in real terms is creeping up but remains below the pre-crisis peak; UK full-time workers clock up more hours in a week than any of their European Union counterparts; and there is near-term uncertainty of an economic shock from the UK’s departure from the EU.

Against this backdrop comes “The Meaning of Work”, Indeed’s comprehensive overview of what British workers want from work.

The study

Working with YouGov, we conducted a representative nationwide survey of more than 2,000 full-time UK employees and combined the results with our own data from the more than 40 million monthly visitors to, as well as data from the Office for National Statistics.

Money matters

The results tell us that pay matters — a lot. More than half of full-time workers consider pay to be more important than purpose at work or even getting a promotion. Moreover, despite average weekly earnings currently growing at close to their highest rate since the financial crisis of 2008, nearly a third of UK employees are dissatisfied with their current level of pay.

Balancing act

But pay is not everything. The survey shows that work/life balance is hot on the heels of salary when it comes to workers’ priorities and it’s an important factor for workers of all ages. The results also show that most people back pay transparency and support a four-day work week — indicating that the demands of the workforce have been evolving.  

The survey sends a strong signal to employers struggling to attract and retain employees in today’s competitive labour market, as well as to policymakers looking to ensure that Britain’s jobs boom satisfies the expectations of today’s workforce. Employers who want to attract and retain the best staff will need to take an imaginative and flexible approach to how they organise their people.

Read the full report here: