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Brits’ biggest employee complaints revealed

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Feeling underpaid, bad management and long hours were the most common complaints UK employees have, according to new research by StandOut CV.  

The careers advice specialists analysed over 31,600 Glassdoor employee reviews from some of the largest public and private employers in the country, across the 30 biggest UK cities, in order to find the most common complaints workers had when discussing their current or previous management. 

Unsurprisingly, feeling underpaid or having a low salary was the biggest employee complaint, with the grievance being mentioned across 2,356 of the reviews analysed. Poor or bad management was the second biggest complaint, followed by long hours. 

The top ten biggest employee complaints, according to the research are: 

  1. Low salary / underpaid – (2356 mentions)
  2. Complaints about management – (2344 mentions)
  3. Long hours – (1389 mentions)
  4. Bad – (1313 mentions)
  5. Stressed – (913 mentions)
  6. Poor management – (700 mentions)
  7. Rude –  (501 mentions)
  8. Overworked – (270 mentions)
  9. Toxic – (223 mentions)
  10. Bullying – (218 mentions)

Glaswegians mention how ‘stressful’ their work is the most out of any other, with it appearing in 1 in 3 negative Glasgow employer reviews. Glasgow also had the most mentions of ‘nepotism’ in workplace reviews (1.7% of negative reviews).

Derby workers had the highest portion of negative reviews mentioning long hours (76.9%) while Edinburgh employees referenced bad management the most (70.2% of negative reviews).

Sheffield employees complained the most about being underpaid (52.7% of negative reviews), Belfast locals said they were burnt out the most (3% of negative reviews), while Sunderland reviews mentioned how ‘exhausting’ work was (7.7% of negative reviews).

Overall, Glasgow has the most complained about employers in the UK, with 26.2% of negative reviews.

Liverpool comes in second with 22.3% negative reviews, and Sheffield in third place with 22.1% negative reviews.

What can employees do about bad bosses?

Once you have left the business, you can post a review anonymously on places like Glassdoor, to talk about your experiences. 

If you work for a small company it could be very obvious who wrote what and this could lead to them providing you with a bad reference. Therefore, consider the timing of when you post a review or if you want to post one at all. 

As for complaining elsewhere online without anonymity, including on social media, we would recommend against it. 

Andrew Fennell, Founder of StandOut CV comments:

“As an employee, you should be careful about what you share online about your workplace. Employers can, and do, easily find the information you share which could end in disciplinary action or lead to you getting a negative reference when you move on.

If you are looking to raise a complaint at work about your manager, go to HR, or a more senior member of staff to raise your concerns, this way the business can assess how best to support you both to overcome the issues you may be having.”

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