Resilience lower among women, public sector and part time workers, says new report

Higher employee resilience could boost retention rates, so should workers be given more training and support?

The pandemic has caused female resilience to decline, according to a new report; the Wraw® Resilience Report examined resilience and wellbeing data across 9,500 employees between July 2018 and January 2021 and showed that female resilience declined by 68% compared to men after March 2020.

The fact this decline followed the onset of COVID-19 suggests the additional pressures experienced by women trying to balance family and domestic responsibilities as well as homeworking took their toll.

Variations in resilience

The report also found that “on average, resilience increases with age” with the over-55 age group having the highest resilience and scored higher on motivation and self-belief.

Interestingly, different work sectors had a strong bearing on levels of resilience where private-sector workers reported “11% higher scores on workplace wellbeing” than third sector workers and 4% higher than public sector workers. In terms of having a sense of direction including “purpose” and “control” in their careers, private-sector workers also reported higher results and scored 14% higher than third sector workers and 4% higher than public sector workers.

Full-time workers scored the highest on resilience with “results that are as much as 23% higher on average than part-time shift workers” while those in part-time shift roles reported the lowest scores across all categories.

Seniority is also a factor that impacts resilience for workers, where the report found that directors and senior executives experienced “significantly higher resilience results than individuals at all other levels” with scores that are as much as 28% higher than students and 23% higher than non-managers on average.

They also report higher levels of “inner drive” which indicates greater self-belief and motivation to combat setbacks than other groups. These findings suggest that more junior workers could benefit from additional resilience and wellbeing support which could aid retention and career progression in the long term.

Stemming employee turnover

According to 2020 data from the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE), over half (51%) of all work-related ill-health and 43% of all working days lost due to ill-health are attributed to stress, depression, or anxiety. This shows that employee resilience or “the ability to bounce back after adversity” is a key element of workplace wellbeing and could ensure good retention rates within organisations.

This is particularly important as the UK employment economy experiences the “great resignation”, where a significant number of employees are considering leaving their jobs once the jobs economy has stabilised following COVID-19. According to research from HR software firm Personio, 38% of employees in the UK and Ireland were planning to change roles in the next six to 12 months or once the economy had stabilised, this figure is even higher (55%) for 18-34-year-olds, which encompasses portions of the Gen Z and millennial workforce.

Sam Fuller, Director, and Founder of the Wraw® Index commented: “The workforce has been through an exceptionally turbulent 18 months and these findings indicate those groups who may be at greatest risk of burnout and suffering a decline in their wellbeing. Gaining a clearer picture of resilience and wellbeing across the workplace enables organisations to target support and interventions where they’re needed the most.

“Stress, depression, and anxiety are significant factors contributing to employee absence. As well as the huge personal impact on individuals, these place a considerable and often long-term cost on businesses to provide sick pay and resources for alternate cover. As we get back on track in 2021, it is more important than ever that business leaders create safe and supportive working environments that enable individuals to be as resilient, agile, healthy, and solution-focused as possible, to help them recover and thrive. Investing in ways to support resilience, with the resultant improvements in motivation, loyalty, and performance will help individuals fulfil their potential and businesses to prosper.”

To read the report in full, click here.
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