Britons no longer believe hard work brings a better life

Around 1 in 5 Brits were found to not rank work to be an important life factor.  (Alamy/PA)
Around 1 in 5 Brits were found to not rank work to be an important life factor. (Alamy/PA)

Brits don’t believe that hard work leads to a better life in the long run, according to a new study, which revealed that less than 40 per cent of people still believe that working hard would make them happier.

The study, conducted by the Policy Institute at King’s College London, included the likes of the UK, Sweden, France, the US, Nigeria, China, and Japan, and looked into how much importance citizens of these nations place on work.

The percentage of UK citizens who believed luck counts for as much as hard work had increased from 40 per cent in 1990 to 49 per cent.

Around one in five Brits were found to not rank work to be an important life factor, making the UK the country that places the least importance on work compared to 24 other nations.

British participants were also the least likely to say that work should always come before leisure time.

The study also showed generational differences in attitudes towards work. While the beliefs of previous generations around the importance of work had been fairly stable, millennials who were born between the early 1980s and mid-1990s were much less likely to prioritise work over other aspects of life.

Talking about their findings, the director of the Policy Institute, Professor Bobby Duffy said that millennials had “become much more sceptical about prioritising work as they’ve made their way through their career” because of “the long-term economic and wage stagnation that will lead younger generations to question the value of work”.

He added that their results also suggested that there was a growing sense that the social contract was violated. He added: “It’s definitely true that the UK is not in a good place compared with other countries on both average income levels and inequality in income.

“Both are likely important in perceptions of whether work is worth it. When absolute incomes are stuck and people feel the dice is loaded against them while others get ahead, even if they work hard, then the motivation to work is going to be affected.”

The individuals who were the most likely to say work is a priority in their lives that deserves high importance were from lower or middle-income countries, such as the Philippines, Indonesia, and Nigeria, which topped the lists.