Widening gap between motivation levels in private and public sectors

Employee motivation levels have increased by 6% over the last year according to accounting and consulting firm Mazars, who published the third annual Employee Motivation Survey.

The survey revealed that 87% of employees are motivated in their jobs. Forty per cent of employees are more motivated than this time last year due to changing roles, a new job or an increase in salary.

This year’s report showed there is a rising gap between motivation levels in the public and private sectors. Eighty four percent of respondents in the public sector/not-for-profit sector are either motivated or very motivated in their work, up from 82% in 2016.

This is compared to 89% of respondents in the private sector, up from 80% last year. Mazars believe this widening gap in motivation may reflect a public sector that is still responding to the recovering economy and what this means for them, as well as a private sector that has been able to respond more rapidly to their demand for talent.

While motivation levels have generally increased for all age groups, the greatest increase and change is seen in the age group 18-24.

Despite much discussion surrounding the difficulties in motivating millennials, a very substantial eighty eight per cent of survey respondents in this age group said they are either very motivated or motivated, an increase of 21% on last year’s results.

The reasons for this increase in motivation are: change in role, salary and job. The top reasons for staying in their current role are training/development opportunities, nice colleagues and financial benefits.

Commenting on the findings, Partner at Mazars, Dera McLoughlin said, “For leaders and managers of ‘millennials’ we have a number of recommendations. Creating opportunities for them to meet others and network in a professional but relaxed atmosphere will help to engage them and in turn maintain their motivation. As millennials thrive on new experiences, it’s important to allow them to work on a variety of different projects where possible.”

Continuing, Ms. McLoughlin added, “Work-life balance ranked as the highest motivation factor for employees overall. 56% of employees believe this is a key motivating factor for them. Finding the right balance between work and life outside work can be challenging and difficult.”

Work life balance is cited as most important for respondents between the ages of 18-24 but remains a top three motivator for all age groups. Flexible working remains one of the most pertinent aspects of work life balance and is a motivating factor for all age groups.

Most organisations offer flexible working arrangements nowadays but have differing ways of doing this, informally or formally.

The report suggests five options that organisations can use to encourage work-life balance:

  • Consider facilitating staff access to fitness for example providing a gym on the premises or providing membership to a gym near to the work premises;
  • Organise company outings and / or attendance at conferences and seminars;
  • Offer community engagement opportunities days where employees spend work time giving back to the community;
  • Allow flexibility in working schedules. Consider staggered start and finish times. There are many other flexible working options that organisations can offer and;
  • Organise and engage in team building exercises, either on site or away day type exercises for example bringing teams together to solve problems.

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