The Meaning of Work Report



Survey data

Survey results reflect the responses of 2,008 full-time employees in the UK, weighted to reflect the gender and age composition of the UK’s full-time employee population based on data from the ONS Annual Population Survey from January to December 2018. Fieldwork was carried out by YouGov between 15th and 24th April 2019. Crossing this analysis with Indeed data provides relevant context for individual preferences. The full survey can be downloaded from this link.

Further statistical analysis

Further statistical analysis was carried out on the survey data to estimate the trade-off between salary and work/life balance. In the raw data, respondents who viewed work/life balance as one of their top concerns said, on average, that a salary of approximately £49,000 would make them happy, which was £5,700 lower than for respondents who did not select work/life balance. We used regression analysis to adjust for differences in the composition of the two groups (in terms of gender, age, region and socio-economic status) and estimated that UK workers who prioritise work/life balance would be happy earning £6,400 less annually than those who don’t. We round these estimates to £6,000 in the main text.

Indeed data

Data on job search and job postings reflect activity on Indeed’s UK platform, which attracts over 40 million monthly visits (SimilarWeb, total visits, April 2019) and sees over 500,000 jobs added each month.

  • We calculated the trend in demand for flexible work by examining all search keywords used on the site between January 2015 and February 2019.

  • The trend in the proportion of job postings that contained salary information was calculated by using data from January to April 2019 and comparing the results to the same period in 2016.

  • Average salaries by occupation were derived from job postings that contained such information between January and April 2019.

  • Most in-demand roles were defined as those with the lowest number of clicks per posting (and therefore the largest gap between employer demand and jobseeker interest) within the specified salary range.

ONS data

Contextual data about the UK labour market was based on the following sources: