20-year olds are the least motivated workers in Britain a new study has revealed

Sarah Dunsby

Source: ©Pexels

Here’s why

 Key work turn-offs that make 20 the golden age of demotivation include little work/life balance (33 per cent), too much stress (25 per cent), workplace bureaucracy (22 per cent), conflict and tension (20 per cent). Scoring just 5.9 out of a maximum ten, these young Gen Z-ers are also demotivated by job insecurity and uncertainty, and the team they work with.

The UK’s most motivated workers are 51 years old, scoring 7.7 out of a ten on average. These enthusiastic workers are driven by flexible working options work that stretch and challenge them, opportunities to learn and develop their, or their team’s expertise.

‘The Motivation at Work report’ by Full Potential Group, a specialist in high-impact leadership development, team performance and coaching, surveyed 2,000 workers aged between 20-65 years old to identify the most and least motivated workers in Britain.  Working parents were also shown to have some of the highest levels of motivation, scoring 6.7 for working mothers and 6.6 for working fathers, while lower ranking bosses showed higher levels of motivation at 6.8, compared to their senior bosses at 6.7.

Top workforce motivators

Researchers found that for all age groups the biggest motivators at work are flexible working options (67 per cent), work that stretches and challenges (46 per cent), and the freedom to make your own decisions (44 per cent) – this rose to 68 per cent for working mums as the most important motivator.

Interestingly for bosses, employee perks weren’t ranked in the top three motivators at work, such as salary (33 per cent) duvet days or days off for birthdays 35 per cent), promotion (28 per cent) and company benefits including car, pension and healthcare (24 per cent).

Biggest demotivators

The biggest demotivators for everyone surveyed were lack of work/life balance (33 per cent), the inability to work remotely (26 per cent) and job uncertainty (25 per cent). While other big turn offs include a lack of recognition or reward (22 per cent), the team they work with or manage (21 per cent), and stress and no flexible working time (18 per cent equally).

Increasing motivation at work

Carole Gaskell, Managing Director, Full Potential Group said: “People might be surprised that 20-year olds were found to be the least motivated workers in Britain, but many bosses and leaders are getting it wrong by trying to motivate their young workforce in the same way that they motivate themselves, assuming they are identical to them.  But times have changed and now the younger generation is less motivated by money or material awards but more by autonomy and a work/life balance.

“The truth is long term workplace motivation isn’t fuelled by perks or policies, but by whether our own individual motivators are being met. Regardless of age or title, we are all driven by a unique blend of motivators and it’s the strength of these that illustrates our individual motivational blend. 

“For example, ‘The friend’ motivational driver likes to be connected with their business and team. They like teamwork and need to feel supported and involved.  ‘The builder’ likes an above-average standard of living and is target driven and likes to feel like they are achieving things, for them pay is a key motivator, along with goals and targets.

“By knowing our own work motivators, we can really understand what makes us tick, while bosses need to understand their own drivers and those of their teams so they can boost workplace motivation and help fix energy levels.”

What motivates you the most at work (all ages, tick all that apply)

What demotivates you the most at work? (all ages, tick all that apply)

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