An ethnicity gap is opening up between white and non-white workers with the former significantly happier at work during the pandemic than the latter, according to new research.
Consultancy firm WorkL, set up by former Waitrose boss Mark Price, found that six months after lockdown, workers are overall happier now than before.
The survey of 20,000 people worldwide saw 72% saying they were happy at work, compared with 64% before the pandemic hit.
The UK jumped to third place in the global rankings, from eighth place a year ago.
However, the data found black women the least likely to feel empowered at work and black men are the least happy at work.
Lord Price explained: “I’m pleased to see that happiness has increased but it’s important to reflect on the worrying ‘ethnicity gap’.
“Business owners and employers must act upon improving inclusion and diversity in the workplace and address particularly concerns of pay.
“As we continue to work in a ‘new normal’, employers should take note of how happy people have been working more flexibly.
“Government must realise this positive shift to home working but also the impact this is having on the economy.
“As a society, we must continue to reflect on how important being happy at work is, not just for employees but businesses and organisations too.”
Workers in the battered hospitality sector are the least happy – as many are facing the prospect of unemployment or reduced salaries due to Covid-19 restrictions and a 10pm curfew in places.
Staff in technology are the happiest, the report found, which is an increase on previous years as employees say they feel bosses are looking after their wellbeing more.
The Bank of England’s chief economist, Andy Haldane, who worked on the report, said: “These gains have not been evenly spread nor universally felt.
“Young people, black people, females and those working in the worst-affected sectors (such as retail and hospitality) have benefited least. They have also faced heightened levels of anxiety.”
The split in happiness between young and old also widened, with 66% of 19 to 24-year-olds saying they were happy, while the 55 to 64-year-old group were the happiest during the pandemic, with 72% agreeing.