Home Business News 73% of UK workers want a 4-day week but half don’t think their employer will deliver

73% of UK workers want a 4-day week but half don’t think their employer will deliver

by LLB Reporter
20th Jun 22 12:05 pm

As 70 UK companies start a four-day working week trial, labelled the biggest flexible working experiment of its kind, exclusive research from recruitment agency, Aspire, has found that almost three-quarters (73%) of the workforce is interested in shifting to a four-day week – however, nearly half (45.2%) aren’t convinced their employer will make the change.

More than 800 candidates from a range of industries – including marketing, sales, technology and the creative industries – responded to Aspire’s survey, which explored the key trends impacting the world of work in 2022 so far.

The six-month pilot trial of the four-day working week will see more than 3300 workers across 70 companies reduce their working hours without a loss of salary.

As the UK workforce looks to bounce back from the pandemic, the four-day working week has been touted as the potential solution to the UK’s productivity problem, as well as contributing to the UK’s net-zero targets and enabling a healthier worklife balance.

But despite the degree of interest in a shorter working week, Aspire’s study shows that only one in four workers are confident (14.2%) or very confident (10.7%) that their employer will roll out four-day working week in the future. In contrast, almost half (45.2%) of workers have no confidence or have doubts that employers can deliver a shorter working week, with a further 29.9% unsure.

Paul Farrer, chairman and founder of Aspire said, “It’s no surprise that workers want to receive five days’ pay for four days’ work. The question is, can they be as or more productive?

“This pilot scheme will make interesting reading. Naturally, not all jobs can as productive when one day a week is lost, particularly manual work. So the four day week risks creating a two-speed country. Those paid or charging by the hour will be challenged as to how they could make it work.

“Personally, I’m sceptical. The early responses of those trialling a four day week found that employees get more rest, but our own research shows that 28% already have a side hustle, with a further 20% intending to create one. What’s more, most employees would like to work on this full time in due course. This leaves employers potentially paying to lose their employees.

“In the current competitive jobs market, a shorter working week has obvious appeal, but it also poses huge risks – the biggest of which is actually trialling it. After the initial honeymoon period of increased activity, businesses must consider how they would address a potential productivity decline.

“How do you revert back to a five day week? The pilot will be interesting when four day week companies are measured against their five day competitors. I know of one company that has operated a four day week since January and they are witnessing increased productivity. Taken at face value it proves the concept works, but when compared to their competitors they have fallen behind.

“Given the appetite for a four day week, it could be decisive when it comes to attracting talent and retaining staff. But where it might offer an advantage in recruitment and employee wellbeing when the economy is growing, employers must carefully consider if it will deliver a commercial advantage and work logistically in the long run.”

Leave a Comment

You may also like


Sign up to our daily news alerts

[ms-form id=1]