AMC’s American drama series Mad Men clearly portrayed an easy-going 1960’s work ethic

If you are one of the many people who can’t wait to leave work at the end of the day, it seems you are not alone. A recent survey looking into what Brits would like to bring back from the past suggests that work satisfaction in the UK has been dropping since 1960’s.

The survey that quizzed 2,000 people in the UK asked those that worked full-time from the 60’s to 90’s to rate their satisfaction in areas or working hours, pay, work culture, working hours. The study revealed that satisfaction has been dropping gradually over the decades in most of the areas.

Even with all the technological advancements, it’s surprising that 28 percent of 18-24 year olds today rated career development to have gotten worse over the decades which is also the same response rate from over fifties age group.

When it comes to work culture from the 60’s to the 90’s, satisfaction of those working full-time in those decades seems to have fallen by 10 percent, with the 1970’s offering the most satisfaction in working hours for those in full-time work.

One of the reasons why working Brits could feel there is a decline in work culture is the replacement of face-to-face experiences by technology, as nearly half of respondents said technology gets in the way of face-to-face experiences.

Although the survey quizzed respondents who were working full-time from the 60’s to the 90’s, it doesn’t seem like work satisfaction has gotten better today with one in four Brits agreeing that work/life balance was better in the 90’s, while 24% feel like life is twice as busy today as it was in the 90’s.

When looking back over the decades for work satisfaction, it seems Brits seemed to have enjoyed working in the 60’s the most, but have our expectations just increased over the decades that employers cannot meet?
Here is a breakdown of how satisfied Brits were about working full-time over the decades:

35 percent said that they were satisfied with working hours in the 1960’s, which steadily decreases to 27 percent in the 1990’s.

Pay and working culture also came up trumps for employees working in the 1960’s, with 34 percent satisfied with culture dropping to 24 in the 1990’s and 19 percent satisfied with pay in the 1960’s dropping to 12 percent in the 1990’s.


Rebecca joined the HRreview editorial team in January 2016. After graduating from the University of Sheffield Hallam in 2013 with a BA in English Literature, Rebecca has spent five years working in print and online journalism in Manchester and London. In the past she has been part of the editorial teams at Sleeper and Dezeen and has founded her own arts collective.