• 90% of insurance professionals feel proud to work in their profession
  • Rail and accountancy professionals are the least proud
  • Nurses among the least proud

Insurance professionals have the most professional pride of any sector in the UK, according to research by recruiter Randstad.

In a survey of over 2,000 British workers, 58% of British workers said they were proud of their profession. But 90% of those working in insurance said they were proud of their profession. Those working in engineering, education, financial services and social services were also above average. At the other end of the spectrum, those working in rail and accountancy were the least proud to work in their sector (32% and 44% respectively). Nurses (45%) were also among the least proud.


I Feel Proud of my Profession

Average weekly hours



39h 15m



36h 06m



32h 58m



38h 31m



31h 07m



36h 25m



31h 34m

Social Workers


38h 52m



31h 11m



39h 43m



34h 34m

Financial Services


37h 17m



33h 32m



37h 24m



35h 30m

IT & Technology


37h 32m



35h 30m



30h 20m



32h 48m



33h 50m



39h 03m


In the sectors where employees felt least proud of their professions, staff spent less time at work than the national average, suggesting that employers need to make staff feel proud of their profession or they risk creating a disillusioned workforce.

Mark Bull, CEO of Randstad UK, explained: “In order to attract and retain a talented, dedicated workforce, employers need to make their staff feel proud of what they do. No one wants to go to work each day without a sense of pride in their careers – and the research proves that employees who fall into this category often spend less time each week at work. Pride in your profession isn’t just good for employees – it’s good for business.

“One way that employers can increase pride in their profession is through employer branding. It can be difficult to change the perceptions of a sector as a whole, but companies can use employer branding to improve morale among their workforce.”

Less proud – less committed?

In most of the sectors where the level of professional pride was below the national average, employees spent fewer hours at work. For instance, only 44% of accountants felt proud of their profession, and their working hours of just 33 hours and 50 minutes per week are considerably below the weekly average. By contrast, 61% of social workers felt proud of their work, and their working hours of 38 hours and 52 minutes are significantly higher than the UK average.

Mark Bull explains: “A sense of pride in the workplace doesn’t automatically mean that employees are more committed to their jobs, but a lack of it presents a very real, organisational risk. When employees are less engaged with their profession, they are less likely to go above and beyond the minimum requirement in terms of their weekly hours.”

Pride and pay

The research also compared professional pride with pay in different sectors – and found no correlation between the two. While property professionals are paid less than the national average, with weekly earnings of just £479.40, workers in this sector are the second most proud of their profession in the country. Meanwhile, accountants receive an average of £639.50 per week – considerably more than the UK average of £505.90 – but are the second least happy of all sectors in the UK.

Mark Bull continued: “There are clearly a variety of factors at play here.  We know that professional pride among employees isn’t about pay. It relates to an intrinsic sense of what working in that profession means to them.  Equally, we know teachers and social workers feel pride in knowing that their work allows them to make a real difference to people’s lives.”

‘Image Problem’

Following the successful completion of the Olympic Park, Randstad has recorded a significant upswing in employee motivation in the construction sector. The timely completion of such a high-profile project was widely reported as a great British success story, resulting in a surge in employee pride.

Mark Bull explains: “The Olympic Village, the largest urban park in Europe, has regenerated a major area of London, creating a lasting legacy of Britain’s architectural capabilities on the world stage. By comparison, the on-going challenges surrounding the proposed HS2 project has taken the shine off a similar reaction taking place in the rail sector. Discussions by politicians and the general public about the importance and feasibility of the project are clearly having a negative effect on those working in the sector.”

The IT & Technology sector also delivered lower than expected levels of professional pride in the research. Technology is one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK, with employees receiving among the highest salaries of any profession. There appears to be a contradiction between the external reputation of IT & Technology and the reality of working in the sector.

Mark Bull continued: “The discrepancy between employee pride and the reality of a career in IT & Technology points to a sector-wide image problem which needs to be addressed.  Unfortunately many of the people in STEM careers are often depicted in the mass media in a highly stereotypical manner. Some people might associate a career in IT with the techie characters that exist in TV shows such as ‘The Big Bang Theory’. But the reality is that most people in the UK are now completely dependent on IT professionals’ skills to power the technologies which surround our everyday lives. The industry is booming and with the results to prove it in terms of growth and pay.

“Similarly, accountants may be battling against stereotypes of being overly cautious, when in reality attention to detail is a highly desirable, professional skill. But in order to sustain a truly engaged workforce, these industries should seek to challenge and solve any underlying image problems that might exist.

“The same image problem may also exist in reverse. Looking at the results, it’s interesting to see that media professionals are among the most proud of all professions in the UK. Despite a large scale public inquiry into professional conduct in the sector, 81% of media professionals feel proud of their career choice.”