New Survey Reveals What Irish Workers Really Want

Workplace culture continues to evolve and with jobs becoming more demanding, they overlap more with our personal lives. Not to mention, with technology at our fingertips, it’s easier for the two to merge, allowing work to encroach more on your personal life. So, what do Irish workers think about their jobs and their workplace today?

With the construction of Ireland’s next generation business destination underway at Dublin Airport, we conducted a survey of a 1,000 people in Ireland on their jobs and work environment.

We asked Irish workers what they really think about their jobs and where they work; How much of their lives are dedicated to work? Are the Irish happy at work? Check out our findings below.

1 – Job satisfaction is more important than job security or a good salary

When asked, Which of the following is the most important to you in a job?, 37% of Irish workers said ‘job satisfaction’.

Employers often use salary to compete for staff, but the majority of Irish workers consider job satisfaction to be more important: Workers like to know that they are going a good job, contributing to overall success and they want recognition for that.

The second most important aspect was job security, followed by a good salary. The least important was health insurance.

There was some surprising consistency among younger and more established workers: For the 18-24 and 55+ age brackets, job satisfaction was the overwhelming first choice at 51% and 50%, respectively.

For 18-24-year olds, the second most important aspect was a good salary, followed by job security; however, this was the opposite for 55+ with job security being the second most important factor, followed by a good salary, indicating differing priorities at different stages in life.

The only age bracket with views that differed from the overall result was those aged 45-54, where the most important thing was job security over job satisfaction and then a good salary.

Employers might want to assess whether their company culture and environment is conducive to employees being satisfied at work, especially given that happiness has been shown to make workers more productive. The new office development at Dublin Airport Central prides itself on providing a modern day, unbeatable work environment that allows companies to provide exceptional facilities for their employees, including security, on-site parking, state of the art broadband as well as access to a wide range of restaurants for lunch, excellent transport links and much more.

2. Only 13% of Irish workers said they had a great work/life balance

When asked, ‘On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being terrible and 5 being great) how would you rate the work-life balance at your workplace?’, only 13% of Irish workers surveyed said that their employer is succeeding in providing a brilliant work life balance, with 9% of us saying the work life balance is terrible.

With 11% of respondents saying the balance is not quite terrible and 38% saying its middle of the road, the majority of respondents are struggling to juggle work and personal life.

How can companies focus on the work/life balance for employees? Respondents highlighted ‘flexible work hours’ as a perk that would make them go the extra mile at work, so this could be a worthwhile option to trial. With happiness leading to better productivity, and the majority of respondents highlighting job satisfaction as the most important thing to them in a job, focusing on creating a happier and healthier work environment should be a priority of companies for long term success.

A goal of Dublin Airport Central for this office development is to provide a dynamic work environment for companies that promote health and well-being for their staff and the desired work/life balance, through multi-purpose fitness centres on site, which includes sports courts, a swimming pool and a fitness studio.

3. A good salary remains a motivating factor for workers

When asked ‘Which of these would convince you to move jobs?’, 41% responded a ‘higher salary’ was most important, followed by 22% choosing ‘career progression opportunities’.

15% of respondents said ‘better work conditions’ would convince them to move jobs.

Even though, job satisfaction is important to us, we can still be tempted away by a larger salary. Money is still the biggest driver for switching jobs. Over a fifth of workers chose career progression opportunities, showing the desire to learn more and develop in our careers.

When we break the results down by age, 45% of respondents aged 25-54, selected a ‘higher salary’ as an incentive to change jobs. However, in the 65+ category, it’s no longer about a higher salary; where the retirement age has been increased, and perhaps for financial reasons some are unable to stop working, interestingly, career progression is what would most convince those aged 65 and over to move jobs.

4. The simple things still matter: Quality tea and coffee are what people want!

When asked ‘Which small perk would most help improve your productivity in the workplace? the most popular answer was ‘quality coffee or tea’, followed by a ‘chill out area’ and ‘ergonomic office equipment’.

For respondents aged 18-24, the top answer was a ‘chill out area’, highlighting the changing work expectations and perceptions for post-millennials.

5. Flexible Hours Help Employees go the Extra Mile at Work

When asked, ‘Which big perk would help you go the extra mile at work?’, a third of respondents said ‘flexible’ hours, followed by ‘paid overtime’.

One perk that looks good on paper but has proven controversial is ‘unlimited annual leave’, which was the third most popular result. While very tempting, it has shown to deliver differing results depending on the industry and the company culture. Given our increasingly busy lives, it seems our priorities lie elsewhere, and flexible hours will help to manage this. This is a relatively easy win for employers, as staff will still work the standard 40 hour week.

Arguably a cause for concern, the second most popular answer was ‘paid overtime’, suggesting a number of employees working unpaid overtime.

Interestingly, ‘paid overtime’ was the most popular answer for respondents aged 65 and over.

6. How much is work affecting our personal life? Half of respondents often work overtime!

To attempt to understand the work/life balance better, we asked the question, ‘Do you often work overtime?’

50% of respondents said, yes, they often work overtime. That is a significant percentage when we think of the standard work day merging with our personal time.  Taking into account ‘paid overtime’ being the second highest response for the question on ‘Which big perk would help you go the extra mile at work?’, it suggests that this overtime is often unpaid.  

Does our workload affect our health in the long term and does working overtime help or hinder business results? Studies suggest working less actually leads to stronger productivity.

The data suggests that workers in Galway and Cork achieve a better work/life balance, as respondents from these counties worked less overtime: 62% of those in Cork and 57% in Galway do not work overtime often.

Across different ages, those working the most overtime were 45-54 year olds, with 55% of them stating they often work longer hours.

This was followed by 25-34 year olds, with 52% of those also saying ‘yes, they often work overtime’. 41% of respondents aged 65 and over and 46% of respondents aged 18-24 often worked overtime. While these groups work fewer overtime hours, this highlights that working overtime is a common occurrence for many across all age brackets.

7.  A third of Irish workers wouldn’t recommend a friend work at the same company as them!

On asking, ‘Would you recommend that a friend apply for a job at the company you work at?, over a third of Irish workers surveyed would not recommend friends work at the company they do.  

That is a bold statement. Are we very unhappy where we work? Do we need more manageable jobs that don’t require overtime on a regular basis? Do we need to socialise more and build better working relationships to feel the job satisfaction that the majority of those surveyed think is the most important?

As happiness in the workplace leads to better productivity, it should be a key concern for employers and an important factor to consider in the lifespan of a company and how a positive working environment can be built, where employees and the company thrives. A high staff turnover can also prove costly in terms of revenue and the quality of the company’s output, not to mention affecting workplace morale.

8. How much do we socialise with colleagues?

When asked, ‘How often do you socialise with colleagues?’, 24% of Irish workers responded ‘occasionally’, 18% said ‘never’ and 12% said ‘twice a year.

On the other end of the scale, over 15% of workers socialise with colleagues once a week and a fifth once a month, so a fractured picture is painted of working environments. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a third of those that socialise once a week are 18-24 year olds. In comparison 27% of 35-44 year olds occasionally socialise with colleagues, while 21% say “never”!

The connections we build with colleagues have been shown to boost morale and happiness at work, as well as demonstrating a great impact on how we can work together for the betterment of the company. Work sports teams, social groups, and even simple after-work drinks or activities can help build stronger relationships among colleagues. The Dublin Airport Central business campus will provide access to over 31 restaurants and bars as well as a fitness centre, with a gym, swimming pool, sports courts and more; plenty of opportunities for team activities and socialising with colleagues to get to know each other.

9. We care about the society we are creating. Companies should too!

When asked, ‘If a company positively contributes to society (charities, the environment), would it make you more interested in working there?’ 69% answered yes, it would make them more interested in working for a company.

No matter the age, it was felt strongly that companies need to do more than just exist for profit. 79% of 18-24 year olds responded ‘Yes’ to caring whether a company positively contributes to society. 72% of 25-34 year olds also said a company’s positive contribution to society mattered to them and would be a deciding factor in moving jobs. 69% of workers 65 and over agreed, indicating similar

Survey Conclusions

So, what insights can we take as to the current state of the workplace for Irish workers?

The negatives:

• 15% of those surveyed are not completely happy with their current work environment, with it being a key factor in switching jobs.

• 50% of respondents often work overtime

• 18% of Irish workers surveyed never socialise with their colleagues

• A third of respondents would not recommend that a friend apply for a job where they work

• 9% of those surveyed state they have a terrible work life balance
The positives:
• 37% of respondents state ‘job satisfaction’ is the most important thing to them in a job

• Providing the basics to employees, such as quality tea and coffee, is a no-brainer and an important small office perk

• 49% of those surveyed don’t often work overtime

• 16% of respondents socialise with colleagues once a week and 20% socialise together once a month

• 69% of those surveyed want to work for a company that cares about our society and the world we live in.

• 66% of respondents would recommend that a friend apply for a job where they work

• 13% of those surveyed say their work/life balance is great.

We often work overtime, with a work/life balance that isn’t ideal. We could benefit from increased salaries but what we want the most is job satisfaction and to be happy at work.

Perhaps one of the most surprising facts is that we don’t want unlimited annual leave, if offered and extra time away from our jobs, but flexible hours so that we can do our jobs to the best of our abilities and maintain that work/life balance.

There are many opportunities here and thinking points for employers. How can they provide a work environment that will be best for its staff and the long term health and success of the company?

Dublin Airport Central’s new business development is creating a space and opportunities for companies to do just that; provide a dynamic work environment that will benefit both the staff and long term health of the company.