How many people actually love their work?

Let’s do a reality check and find out what the real world actually looks like.

A recent survey came up with the following figures for a number of businesses.

  • 20% of employees are actively engaged
  • 60% of employees are coasting at work. Could do better if pushed.
  • 20% of employees are actively disengaged. They are toxic to their co-workers and the business.

So straightaway we know that the competition to do a good job is not so tough. Only 1 in 5 employees is doing their best to do a good job and get ahead.


That doesn’t mean that the 20% actively engaged are happy at work. Most people don’t think of themselves as happy at work. In fact, often the only time that people will say that they are happy is when faced with leaving through forced redundancy!

It’s just not done to express any affection for your work (even if you do like it). It’s accepted practice to complain about the job or the boss, rather than say that you really like your work.

The same survey investigated why people stay on their job:

  • Rewards
  • Job Fulfilment
  • Worklife Balance
  • Leadership – likes leaders
  • Purpose – organisation has purpose
  • Opportunity – feel hopeful and positive about their future
  • Relationships – open, positive, collaborative

The same survey looked at why people left their job:

  • 90% of managers believe that people leave for more money - in fact only 12% leave for financial reasons
  • Job dissatisfaction is biggest reason
  • Loss of trust in leadership is also major reason

So we know from these studies that financial reward is not key, more of a satisfier. That is, it’s not something that provides incentive or motivates.

A sincere and personally given “pat on the back” or recognition reward is more likely to motivate and keep employees in work.

The ideal job, mix of skills, challenge, meaning and reward will be different for every person. Think about your personality, and the things that motivate you – these things are important at work.