A poll carried out by the TUC earlier this month has found that workers do not generally feel that they are listened to at work.

For instance, two in five workers (41 per cent) said that big changes were driven through without consultation, while a fifth (21 per cent) said that their suggestions were ignored by management. Not surprisingly perhaps, staff do not generally feel they have a voice at work. Britain currently ranks 26th (second-last) among EU countries for workers’ participation in companies. Low employee engagement is estimated to cost the economy billions every year in lower productivity.

In addition, one in three workers (33 per cent) said that their employer did not offer regular training opportunities; and one in four (24 per cent) reported that they were not offered any training at all at their workplace apart from the induction programme offered to new starters.

The poll, of more than 3,000 working adults, shows the problem is worst in the service sector, where just one in four get training opportunities. White collar workers (social grades A and B) are twice as likely (40 per cent versus 21 per cent) to get training opportunities than in those in blue collar roles (grades D and E). Young workers (18-24 year olds) miss out on training the most. 

The TUC says that this failure on the part of employers to ensure their workers gain new skills is a key factor behind Britain’s productivity crisis. EU employers spend double the amount UK employers do on improving workforce skills and typically have much higher productivity levels. 

The TUC is calling on employers to ensure workers have: 

  • The ability to have their voice heard at work
  • Fair pay
  • Regular hours
  • Fair treatment – and freedom from discrimination
  • A safe and healthy workplace
  • The opportunity to learn and progress 

Neil Todd of Thompsons Solicitors commented: “As Frances O’Grady made clear when the report was released, companies that train and listen to their workforces perform better and hold on to talented staff. The evidence from the poll however demonstrates that far too few employers are prepared to embrace this fact and choose not to properly engage with their own workforce or provide training opportunities. This is a very short-sighted approach which is to the detriment of workers, employers and the wider economy as a whole.” 

Click here to read the TUC Poll in more detail.