Nearly one-fifth of UK employees – 5.5 million people – feel undervalued at work





  • 8-in-10 undervalued employees are looking to leave their current role
  • Over half claim their productivity increases when they feel valued
  • Almost 90% of workers feel more valued after receiving a gift card

A new report has found that almost a fifth of UK employees, around 5.5 million people, feel undervalued at work.

The Love2shop Employee Value Report is the second annual survey of UK workers commissioned by leading UK reward, incentive and gifting experts Love2shop.

This year it has revealed that of those who feel undervalued in the workplace, 8-in-10 are looking to leave their current role. Over a quarter, around 1.5 million workers, said they are actually willing to leave their current role without another job lined up – despite the rising cost of living

Julian Coghlan, Managing Director of Love2shop, said that the report’s findings were a warning to employers who are still not engaging with employees.

“Everyone has seen the impact of rising costs this year,” he said. “It’s a major concern that, even when times are tough, so many UK workers are so unhappy they would seriously consider leaving without a job to go to.

“Last year our report revealed a significant problem with employee value in the UK. While some employers have taken action since then to improve overall happiness, millions of workers still feel disengaged from the business they work for.

“This should be a wake-up call for UK businesses. The cost of recruiting new talent and training them to replace outgoing staff far outweighs the cost of implementing a reward and recognition structure that would improve employee happiness, loyalty and productivity.”

The Love2shop Employee Value Report feeds into a wider picture of employee happiness and value. According to the Workforce Institute for example, one-in-three workers would rather quit their job rather than voice concerns at work.

“Communication is critical,” said Julian. “Unfortunately it seems that there are still many workplaces where staff do not feel comfortable or confident in raising concerns. That can cause issues around health and safety, and it erodes people’s motivation and satisfaction in their job.

“Better communication and conversations in the workplace is a really cost effective way to improve value, as in many cases the only critical investment required is time.”

Employers are potentially facing problems down the line too. The number of employees looking for a new role rises amongst the younger demographic, with 87% of Gen Z actively pursuing a different job. Without a pipeline of young talent to replace outgoing, experienced workers, businesses could find themselves falling headfirst into a skills gap.

“Emerging strongly from a challenging economic period is a lot harder if you can’t retain talent,” said Julian. “But there are easy ways you can begin to improve employee happiness.”

When it comes to rewards, nearly 6 in 10 employees say that days off, flexible working hours and multi-retailer gift cards were the best ways for companies to reward employees.

Nearly 90% of UK employees said they would feel more valued if their boss surprised them with a multi-retailer gift card as a spontaneous gift. More than half (57%) of employees – almost 17.2 million people – claimed their productivity increases when they feel valued.

However, 47% of respondents reported they had never received spontaneous gifts from their employer. Long-term, this is impacting recruitment as over two thirds (67%) of UK employees surveyed said they check a company’s reward system, culture, employee happiness ratings and reviews before applying for a job.

And in a sign of the continuing impact of the rising cost of living, 34% of workers revealed if they were to receive a multi-retailer gift card from their company, they would spend it on the weekly shop – while 12% would use it to buy school essentials for their children.

Regionally, the report found workers in Liverpool feel more underappreciated than anywhere else in the UK, with over a quarter (27%) of those in the city region feeling undervalued in the workplace.

Workers in the North West felt broadly the same as those in Liverpool, with more than a fifth (21%) reporting feeling undervalued.

Elsewhere in England, Southampton scored the highest for employee value, with 61% of people scoring highly for feelings of appreciation at work.

“With food and fuel prices rising, mortgage rates increasing and energy costs remaining high, even small rewards can make a real difference in employee’s lives,” said Julian.

“They can also make a difference to business. Investing in people is a sound strategy for growth and at Love2shop, our expert team helps UK businesses build effective strategies to engage with employees and improve happiness and performance.”

To read the report, visit


Survey data taken from a Censuswide poll of 2,000 employed UK adults in August 2023

About Love2shop

 Love2shop – part of the PayPoint Group – is the UK’s number one multi-retailer gifting provider. Its range of Love2shop Gift Cards, e-Gift Cards and Gift Vouchers offer consumers the choice to spend at more than 140 high-street and online retail partners.

As well as personal gifting, Love2shop products are widely used in customer and employee engagement and consumer incentive programmes to provide recognition and rewards that offer real value to the recipients.

Love2shop also provides holiday gift vouchers through Love2shop Holidays and single-retailer gift cards for some of the high street’s biggest names – from Marks and Spencer to John Lewis.

Love2shop Gift Cards are flexecash products regulated by the FCA. Flexecash is the pre-paid card platform which issues Love2shop Cards. This facility is provided by Park Card Services Ltd who is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Electronic Money Regulations 2011 [90001] for the issuing of electronic money.

Discover more: