Seven in ten workers feel their employer either takes their efforts for granted or expects them to feel grateful for having a job, as the struggling economy continues to affect morale, according to a survey from recruitment firm Hyphen.

The survey asked over 1,000 UK workers a series of questions about their feelings towards their employer. A fifth (20%) of workers are still putting in longer hours than before the recession, surviving on a pay cut (17%) or taking on more responsibility than just their normal role (17%).

As a result, employees are now looking for better pay to match their worth but two-thirds (67%) say a salary increase would encourage them to stay put.

In the absence of increased pay, a significant proportion say a menu of flexible benefits (56.7%), better work/life balance (37.8%) and clear career development opportunities (32.4%) would discourage them from moving on.

Zain Wadee, managing director at Hyphen, said: “Despite economic uncertainty, we are seeing substantial workforce mobility across the private sector in particular and a significant number of employers are still looking to hire. Employers need to focus on employee engagement to ensure they keep their best people or those staff who feel undervalued will consider moving job.

“Employee retention now deserves attention from employers. If not in a position to enhance pay packets, one powerful option is to maximise the benefits package offered to workers.

“Employers would be well advised to look at the overall experience of working in their organisation. Do their employees leave at a reasonable hour? Are they given the option to choose benefits to suit their situation? Are they engaged in discussions about steps to progress their career?

“Employers should be speaking to their employees about what they want to get out of their job to help inform their retention strategy.”