More workers adopting dog-eat-dog persona

14 July 2014 -


Longer hours and a desire to stay in work past retirement age have spawned a ruthless attitude among many staffers, according to recent surveys

Jermaine Haughton

Bosses are facing stiffer challenges with keeping ambitious and competitive staffers in tune with a harmonious, honest atmosphere, as recent research suggests that more and more UK workers are willing to work longer, harder and step on their peers to scale the corporate ladder.

A dog-eat-dog attitude to work has been a constant across the Atlantic, and has frequently been dramatised in films such as Jerry Maguire and The Wolf of Wall Street. In sum, the mindset is to prioritise money and career progression ahead of camaraderie, ethics and craftsmanship. One recent study conducted by career-related social network LinkedIn found that British workers are among the least friendly towards their colleagues, compared their foreign compatriots. Indeed, half of British workers admitted that they were prepared to sacrifice friendship for a promotion.

In addition, more than two-thirds of Brits (70%) don't socialise with colleagues, while just one in five (22%) continue to be friends with people once we have changed jobs. Only workers in Sweden and the Netherlands were found to be less friendly.

LinkedIn spokesman Darain Faraz argued that pressures of work are pushing people away from forming genuine relationships with their colleagues. “We Brits spend more time in the office than ever before,” he said, “and it’s clear that this long­hours culture is stopping us from making friends at work. It’s important that we get our ‘office-life’ balance right. Not only can socialising with colleagues create better, more productive working environment, it can also be a way to make lifelong friends too.”

The demands of the rat race are seemingly taking a toll on workers at all levels – but particularly for managers who have to think about their own performances as well as their staffers’. Another recent survey from the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) found a culture of working overtime is forcing managers to work an extra day each week. Almost half of the 1,000 ILM members were found to work an additional 7.5 hours each week, as 76% regularly stayed late, 48% worked through lunch and nearly four in 10 used the weekend to keep on top of work.

Alarmingly, just 13% of respondents felt they had a good work-life balance, with many complaining of not spending enough time with their children, friends or enjoying their hobbies. While two-thirds of those on the management ladder felt under pressure from bosses to work extra hours, 60% said that this was partly self-inflicted. ILM chief executive Charles Elvin said: “There are only so many times you can burn the midnight oil before your performance, decision making and wellbeing begin to suffer.”

These factors are set to play an ever-more vital role in the workplace as more staffers signal their willingness to work well into their 60s and 70s, changing the dynamics of the workforce. A survey of British employees from retirement-income specialists MGM Advantage found that 10% never wanted to retire, meaning that 60,000 people will remain on the payroll each year as they turn 65. Furthermore, one in six of workers aged over 65 and still working said they did not want to stop.

MGM Advantage pensions technical director Andrew Tully said: “This will have a massive impact on UK employment. Perceptions will change as employers recognise that over 65s are increasingly available as a source of skilled and experienced workers. It’s clear there’s going to need to be a lot more freedom and flexibility in the pensions market, to accommodate people who don’t want to stop working but still want to access pension savings without a big tax bill.”

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