Bloomberg News

U.K. More Productive, More Stressed Than When Queen’s Rule Began

February 02, 2012

Feb. 1 (Bloomberg) -- British workers are four times more productive than at the start of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign in 1952, though they’re also more stressed, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development said.

The value of economic output is four times greater than 60 years ago, even though the 920 million hours worked each week is about the same, the CIPD, an association for human-resource professionals, said in a report published today in London. The report was produced as the queen prepares to mark her diamond jubilee in June.

While the length of the working week has fallen by 10 hours, the pay gap between rich and poor has widened and unemployment has increased, the report said. A “sharp increase” in stress can be seen in the 52 percent of employees now subject to computer surveillance at work, and the claimant- count unemployment rate has risen to 5 percent from 2.2 percent.

“People do not seem much happier about their working lives and many exhibit the symptoms of work-related stress,” John Philpott, the CIPD’s chief economic adviser, said in a statement. “The lesson of the past six decades is that increased productivity and prosperity isn’t enough to enhance the common good in the workplace or society in general.”

The number of workers employed in the public sector has held at 6 million, the report said. While half of public workers in the 1950s were at nationalized industries and public corporations, most now are public-service providers in schools, hospital and local authorities, or are managing those services.

Recruitment company Reed said in a separate report that its gauge of new jobs rose 9 percent in January from a year earlier on higher demand in marketing and public relations, real-estate agents and retail. The Reed Job Index rose to 123, up 10 points on the year and 2 points on the month.

--Editors: Eddie Buckle, Andrew Atkinson

To contact the reporter on this story: Jennifer Ryan in London at jryan13@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net


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