Are your junior staff happy? This survey says they probably aren’t

Junior staff members are the least happy within the workforce, a study reveals.

Some 62 per cent of junior staff believe they deserve to earn a higher wage and almost half (46 per cent) feel overworked, according to a study by

Junior staff members feel more negative about work (24 per cent before work and 22 per cent after work) than any other level of seniority.

Respondents are also keen on flexible working, with 46 per cent believing working from home would improve their happiness. However, such an arrangement is denied to more than half (61 per cent) of junior employees.

Flexible working may also help to prevent the presenteeism found among junior staff, the survey suggests. Some 64 per cent admit to going into work when they are ill compared to 47 per cent of senior management and 43 per cent of business owners.

Despite feeling overworked, junior staff admit to not feeling fulfilled (32 per cent) or challenged (29 per cent). They also appear to receive a lack of praise: after monetary rewards (pay rises (75 per cent), bonuses (32 per cent), ‘flexible hours’ (32 per cent) and ‘a shorter working week’ (25 per cent), junior staff value ‘more praise’ (23 per cent) as a workplace motivator, more than any other level of seniority.

Peter Ames, head of strategy at says, ‘The fact that junior staff are the least happy is alarming but not surprising when you consider they appear to be underpaid, undervalued and denied basic rights such as flexible working.’

‘Last year we discovered a very similar phenomenon, that young employees were being overworked, and it appears as if little has changed.’

Living Wage Week gives employers the ideal impetus to ensure they are paying junior workers a fair wage, he adds.

‘However, perhaps most worrying is the denial of flexible working. While junior staff may expect a lack of experience to result in a slightly lower paycheque; flexible working is a fairly universal right.

‘It comes down to trust; I’d suggest that the more you trust employees by allowing things such as flexible working, the more you will get out of them.’

Further reading on flexible working

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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Employee happiness