There are an estimated 32 million people working in the UK in 2019, the highest employment rate since 1971. With such a high influx of workers however, have you ever considered whether the joys, grievances, and colleagues you’re familiar with are the same across other industries and companies?

Following the success of TV shows like The Office (UK and US) and fly-on-the-wall documentaries like The Armstrongs, Vanquis Bank have conducted a nationwide office survey to find out what makes UK workers tick, and what ticks them off.

This is the Professional Gripes Survey.

Would you take a promotion without a pay rise

Over the past five years, there has been a noticeable rise in workers accepting promotions without (immediate) pay rises.

While job satisfaction, job perks, and quality of life are preferred to higher wages for many people, we wanted to discover just how many Brits would accept a promotion without a pay rise. The study identified their reasons for doing so and highlighted how different job sectors responded.

The results found that 20.5% of Brits (across all sectors) would take a promotion without a pay rise, while 42.9% would consider it. 36.6% of Brits would turn the offer down.

Of those surveyed, workers who would accept or consider a promotion without a pay rise said their main motivation for doing so was to secure a better job in the future (68.6%).

23.1% of those surveyed said they would take or consider a promotion without a pay rise to increase their authority over colleagues, while 9.1% said they would do so to impress a date or a loved one.

Broken down by sector, Marketers were the most likely to accept a pay rise without a promotion (58%), while those in Hospitality were the least likely (9.9%).

Sector
% of respondents who would definitely take a promotion without a payrise
Marketing
58%
Agriculture & Environment
46%
Beauty & Wellbeing
44%
Art & Design
39%
IT & digital telecoms
29%
Media
24%
Construction
22%
Retail & Customer Services
20%
Science & Mathematics
20%
Security & Emergency Services
20%
Sports, Leisure and Tourism
18%
Health and Social Care
15%
Transport and Distribution
14%
Childcare & Education
14%
Engineering
11%
Law, Politics & Government
11%
Energy
10%
Hospitality
9%

What you would do to get promoted

Many people set themselves career goals, but how far would UK workers be willing to go in order to achieve them? As part of our study, workers were asked what steps they had taken in order to climb the career ladder.

The most common method for attempting to gain a promotion was to take on additional work to impress senior colleagues, with 32.5% admitting to doing so. This was closely followed by paying complements to senior colleagues and/or bosses (25.1%), while flirting came in third at 12.9%.

In terms of gender, males were prepared to go to greater lengths than their female counterparts to secure a promotion, with a higher percentage answering yes to each question in the categories below.

Around 10% of Brits admitted to sabotaging a rival colleague’s career for personal gain, while 9.6% offered money to a colleague in exchange for a promotion. Finally, the study found that 8.3% of UK workers admitted to blackmailing their bosses for a more senior position.

What people would do to get promoted All people Male Female
Take on additional tasks not related to your job / place of work 35.20% 35.90% 34.40%
Compliment a senior colleague / boss 25.10% 27.50% 21.80%
Flirt with a senior colleague / boss 12.90% 15.70% 9.00%
Wear suggestive clothing 11.10% 13.10% 8.30%
Offer money outside of the workplace 9.60% 11.70% 6.90%
Sabotage a rival colleagues career 9.00% 10.70% 6.60%
Blackmail a senior colleague / boss 8.30% 9.40% 6.80%

Would you recommend your place of work to others?

On average, British workers change employers every five years.

To discover the reason why Brits are changing jobs so frequently, we asked UK workers what their main motivations were for leaving – or wanting to leave – their current position.

The results showed that only a quarter of those surveyed would not recommend their place of work to others.

Employees working in the Beauty and Wellbeing sector were found to be most job satisfied in the UK, with just 10% stating they would not recommend their current employer to others. Conversely, those in Hospitality positions were the least happy with 35.2% admitting they would not recommend their employer.

Those working in the Transport and Distribution sector were the second least job satisfied (33.1% would not recommend their current employer), followed by Retail and Customer Services in third, with 32.1% not willing to recommend their current employer.

Reason they wouldn’t recommend it…
All people
I feel undervalued
46%
I feel underpaid
44%
There isn’t much opportunity for progression
38%
I don’t like the management
37%
I feel over-worked
35%
I don’t like the work environment
30%
I don’t like my colleagues
14%
25%
of people wouldn’t recommend their place of work to others

What office behaviours irritate you the most?

The average working week for British employees is 37.5 hours. In some cases, workers can spend more time with their colleagues than with their own family members, leaving plenty of time to learn their quirks and behaviours.

With so much time spent in the workplace, we asked UK workers what office behaviours irritated them the most.

The results showed that poor food hygiene and cleanliness ranked highest among office grievances, with 85.4% of UK workers objecting to rotting food in fridges. A further 83.2% took issue with messy kitchens and bathrooms, which came in higher than discriminatory, rude, and offensive language complaints (81.75%).

According to our findings, being beaten to promotions and pay rises by colleagues lingered on Brits minds the most.

The average time survey respondents were bothered by such news was 57.36 working hours – over 50% longer than hearing co-workers use rude/offensive/racist remarks (36.72 hours).

You can view the full table of results below:
Someone leaving rotten food in the fridge / kitchen area
85%
of people bothered
Hours bothered for
18.72
Days bothered for
0.78
Someone leaving a mess in the kitchen, bathroom or other communal area
83%
of people bothered
Hours bothered for
15.84
Days bothered for
0.66
Someone using discriminatory or rude language in the office (i.e. swearing, racism, sexism)
81%
of people bothered
Hours bothered for
36.72
Days bothered for
1.53
Someone leaving passive aggressive notes in a communal area
74%
of people bothered
Hours bothered for
22.8
Days bothered for
0.95
Someone playing loud music on their work computer
74%
of people bothered
Hours bothered for
14.64
Days bothered for
0.61
Someone changing the settings on the heating / aircon
67%
of people bothered
Hours bothered for
13.44
Days bothered for
0.56
Someone cooking smelly food in the office kitchen
66%
of people bothered
Hours bothered for
11.76
Days bothered for
0.49
Someone getting promoted over me at work
61%
of people bothered
Hours bothered for
57.36
Days bothered for
2.39

What would you do to mitigate irritating/offensive office behaviours?

We asked UK workers what actions they have recently – or historically – taken to mitigate inappropriate, inconsiderate, and/or offensive co-worker behaviours.

Verbal confrontation ranked highest, with 40.7% of Brits admitting to calling out a co-worker’s behavior to their face.

32.2% of those surveyed admitted to having recently or historically complained to their boss about a co-worker, while nearly a third (27.5%) of Brits admitted to badmouthing colleagues and rubbishing their work to fellow co-workers when annoyed or offended.

In addition to this, 12.8% of Brits admitted to getting into physical fights in the workplace when irritated, while 9.9% admitted to engaging in attempts to sabotage their co-workers’ career.

In terms of Industry breakdowns, Beauty and Wellbeing employees were the most likely to get involved in physical fights (26%), as well as ranking first for revealing personal information about colleagues to their boss (38%).

Media workers were the most likely to try and embarrass colleagues in front of clients (41.2%), as well as being the most likely to try and sabotage a co-worker’s career (29.4% of those surveyed).

Those working in the energy sector are the most likely to complain to their boss about a co-worker (44% admitted to recently or historically doing so).

Verbal confrontation
40%
Complaining to their boss
32%
Bad mouthing them and their work to other colleagues behind their back
27%
Complaining to the HR department
21%
Trying to embarrass them in meetings in front of colleagues or clients
14%
Physical confrontation (i.e. violence)
12%
Deleting or adding mistakes to their work in a shared document
11%
Revealing personal information about them to their family/boss
11%
Attempting to sabotage their career
9%
Harassing them on social media, outside of work
9%

Most hated Buzzwords

Tap on buzzwords to reveal percentage

Hover over buzzwords to reveal percentage

Thanks in advance
10%
Deets
16%
As per my request
15%
I appreciate you must be really busy but
17%
I'm not sure if you've seen my previous/the below email
12%
Moving forward
16%
Circle back to
12%
Are we on the same page?
22%
Touch base
23%
If poss
13%
Let's hit the ground running
19%
ASAP
16%
Synergy / synergise
15%
Do you have a sec?
12%
End / close of play
14%
Incremental
6%
My door is always open
16%
Diarise
13%
I hope you are well
8%

About Vanquis Bank

Vanquis Bank are an award-winning bank and part of the Provident Financial Group. Offering credit cards for bad credit with an option of an eligibility check that won’t affect your credit score, be sure to visit our website and apply for a credit card today. Representative 39.9% APR (variable)

Findings based on survey of 2,000 full-time workers, living in the UK, aged 16 and above.