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UK workers selfless compared to European rivals

British workers are more compassionate than French and Germans, according to a new international survey undertaken by recruiter Randstad UK.

In a poll of 16,500 European workers for Randstad’s annual recruitment industry trends report – including 2,000 from the UK – undertaken across 15 European countries, Brits were found to be the most compassionate of our closest European competitors.

When asked if they wouldn’t mind earning less money if they felt their job was contributing something to society or the world, over a third (36 per cent) of Brits said they’d sacrifice their pay for the greater good.

By contrast, fewer than one in five Hungarians said the same (19 per cent) while only a fifth of Norwegians (20 per cent) and a quarter of Danes (25 per cent) said the same.

Victoria Short, the CEO of Randstad UK, says: “You can’t have it all – money, job fulfilment, and a decent work-life balance. You can maximise one, you can try to optimise another – but you aren’t going to get all three. That’s the classic careers triangle. And here we’ve tested where workers’ priorities lie and how willing people are to sacrifice one of those elements – cash – for the chance to contribute something.

“Our research suggests that, in the UK, we’re keener to prioritise doing meaningful, vocational work than the Germans or the French. Even workers in Nordic countries with famously comprehensive welfare systems; multi-level collective bargaining based on the economic foundations of social corporatism; a sizable percentage of the population employed by the public sector; and a high percentage of the workforce unionised – aren’t as public-spirited as us.”

“We care more about the inherent significance of the job than our European neighbours do. Brits want to do important work. We want to know that we are making a difference. That we are being an important member of society moving things forward. That’s job satisfaction.”

“If you want to maximise how much you make, there are ways to do that – and all power to the Hungarians with their focus on the bottom line. But some of the jobs that pay the most can be incredibly boring, leaving you feeling like you’ve sold out. Pay is not the be all and end all of the world of work. Well, certainly not in this country.”

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Founded in 1960, Randstad is the world’s largest provider of recruitment and HR services (by revenue, gross profit, and market share), employing more than 40,000 people in 5,000 locations. In 2021, it generated revenue of almost €25 billion last year across 38 markets. Last year, Randstad helped more than two million candidates to find a job; trained over 450,000 people; and advised 235,000 clients on various aspects of their HR strategy – from talent acquisition to total workforce management.

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