A survey found 60% of workers in the UK would choose not to work if money was no object recently. I am surprised the percentage wasn’t higher.

The other surprising thing is that this was an international survey and that the UK’s 60% score was higher than workers in 20 of our European competitors – like Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Turkey, Poland, Sweden, Belgium, Norway, Austria, Denmark, Romania, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Greece, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Luxembourg. It was higher than competitors in the English-speaking world like Canada, Australia, the USA and New Zealand. It was also higher than economic giants like China and Japan.

Across the 27 different countries surveyed, 47% of workers agreed that “If money was no object, I would choose not to work at all,” compared to 60% here.  Switzerland, Austria and Romania had the fewest workers who said they would quit with 38%, 37%, and 36% respectively. 

There might be good reasons why Brits are not currently participating in the workforce.  They might be put-off by the cost of childcare.  They might be caring for elderly relatives.  They might have long-term health conditions. The answer could reflect working conditions in the UK being more stressful than elsewhere.  Victoria Short, the boss of recruiter Randstad UK (who commissioned the poll) thinks the answers suggest employers in the UK aren’t giving workers what they want or need and that, as a result, employees in the UK are less fulfilled at work. “Treating your staff right is the way to success. That means more flexible, remote and part-time options, improving workplace culture, and doing more to ensure people don’t burn-out from stress and unrealistic workloads.”

I think we all know that’s unduly generous. We are not a nation of grafters. Not anymore. A lot of us are lazy and feckless. There was a series of interviews in The Times this weekend with four slacking workers who were quietly abusing their working from home privilegesto get fit, do the housework, travel for long-weekend trips and to do the gardening.  Based on the results of this reseach, I don’t think they’re alone.

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