Press Release

Quarter of UK employees feel voiceless at work

Latest press release from Ciphr



Quarter of UK employees feel voiceless at work, Ciphr survey finds

One in four (25%) UK employees don’t feel like they have a voice in their organisation, or that their employer encourages, listens to, and acts on feedback from its staff, according to a new study by HR software provider Ciphr.

Of the 1,000 workers who took part in Ciphr’s survey on diversity and inclusion in the workplace, just over half (53%) believe that they have a voice within their company. The remaining 22% of respondents – that’s over six million people – were undecided on whether they have a voice or not (which perhaps implies that many of them don’t).

The results suggest that a huge swathe of the UK workforce could, potentially, be lacking a ‘voice’ in their organisation, which means that their views may not be being asked for, heard, or included in conversations and decisions that may directly affect them.

Female employees appear less likely than male employees to believe that they have a voice in their organisation (50% of surveyed women think they do have a voice at work, compared to 57% of surveyed men).

This feeling of voicelessness is even more pronounced among those at the start of their careers, with a third (33%) of women aged 18 to 24 years old reporting that they don’t think they have a voice in their organisation. Just one in six (17%) men of the same age feel that way.

Ciphr’s research shows that there is a direct link between feeling voiceless at work and a negative employee experience. Employees who don’t feel listened to and heard in their organisation are, unsurprisingly, less likely to stay at that organisation – and be unhappier and less engaged while they work there.

Of those who don’t feel that they have a voice in their organisation, or that their organisation encourages, listens to, and acts on feedback from staff, less than a third (29%) report enjoying their job, only a quarter (26%) feel engaged and motivated at work, and just half (51%) intend to stay in their job for at least the next year.

In comparison, over three-quarters (81%) of those who do feel that they have a voice in their organisation, and that their organisation encourages, listens to, and acts on feedback from staff, said that they enjoy their jobs and have job satisfaction, while 82% intend to stay at their jobs. These ‘happier’ workers are also more likely to agree or strongly agree that they feel loyal to their organisation (79% of people who feel they have a voice vs 25% of those who feel voiceless), and feel included in, and consulted on, decisions that affect them (78% vs 17%).



Ciphr’s research also revealed that employees are, in general, much less positive than bosses about their organisations’ diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts.

Other key findings from the survey included:

  • One in four (25%) 18- to 24-year-olds don’t feel confident or comfortable being themselves at work (compared to 12% of over 25s, and 4% of senior managers)
  • Nearly a fifth (18%) of all respondents (21% of men and 15% of women) rarely or never feel like they belong at work
  • Nearly one in six (17%) junior and middle managers don’t think that discriminatory or inappropriate behaviour is appropriately addressed at their organisation (the survey average is 14%)
  • One in seven (15%) non-managers don’t think that their leaders lead inclusively. Just 60% believe that their leaders lead inclusively, compared to 77% of those in leadership and senior management positions
  • Over three-quarters (79%) of senior managers think that their organisation’s policies take account of diverse needs and situations, but less than two-thirds (63%) of non-managers agree with them

What can employers do?

Ann Allcock, head of diversity at Ciphr and Marshall E-Learning, says: “Ciphr’s DEI&B survey results provide some significant and interesting insights into today’s workplace culture and practices.

“One finding that stands out for me is how the youngest employees feel less positive about their workplaces across all areas – which is disheartening and concerning.

“We know from other research that young people are more likely than older generations to call out bias at work, which may have become accepted and normalised over time. And that younger employees have higher expectations of their managers and leaders in terms of attitudes, skills and behaviours around diversity and inclusion, which, in itself, is a good sign that increased efforts around DEI and more inclusive recruitment practices are working. If they don't see or experience the attitudes and skills they expect from their employers, then younger people will be less satisfied with their workplace.

“Having strong DEI&B credentials can make the difference between attracting, recruiting, and retaining that younger person with potential or not. So, employers would be well advised to consider what these survey results mean for them.”

“Inclusion is about being proactive. There is so much that employers can do to enhance inclusion and belonging in their organisations. It’s important to focus your efforts and signal your commitment to delivering inclusion through training and policies, implemented from the top down; through clearly identifying individual responsibilities; and by fostering a workplace culture that understands, respects, and values each employee.”

Actions that employers can take to improve equality and diversity in the workplace include:

  • Carrying out a bespoke survey within your organisation so that you know how staff really experience the workplace culture – and what employees of different ages want and need in the workplace. It’ll help identify the issues that you have to tackle immediately.
  • Ensuring that employees with marginalised identities have a voice that is heard, respected, and taken notice of. Setting up employee networks or employee resource groups, or holding focus groups, are good first steps.
  • Looking at your recruitment process – are you attracting a diverse set of candidates? Check that imagery and wording used in your adverts doesn’t exclude any particular groups or individuals. You could also invest in recruitment software and processes that anonymise candidates to minimise the opportunity for bias.
  • Ensuring your DEI agenda has a specific focus on age inclusion, catering for younger employees as well as older generations. Listening and acting on feedback from all ages is the best way to ensure you’re utilising the potential of younger workers, as well as encouraging older workers to stay in the workplace. It will also keep your organisation’s policies, practices, and systems fair and relevant.
  • Thinking carefully about your DEI training and learning resources. Ask yourself: are they relevant, appropriate and impactful? Are they readily available to all workers? Do managers and leaders understand what it means to lead inclusively, are they confident in this, and do they have all the support they need? And do all employees know how they can play a role in contributing to an inclusive workplace? If you’re unsure of the answers, or it’s a flat ‘no’, then it’s time to invest in new content and training.

Ciphr conducted an online survey of 1,000 employed UK adults. The results, which form part of an employee experience in the UK study, are available at

Ciphr is a leading UK-based provider of integrated HR, payroll, learning and recruitment solutions. Ciphr also offers off-the-shelf and bespoke eLearning content, through its subsidiary Marshall E-Learning (a specialist diversity and inclusion learning provider). More than 600 organisations use the group’s people management solutions globally across the public, private and non-profit sectors.

Marshall E-Learning has just launched a new suite of Diversity micro learning courses on inclusive line management, inclusive recruitment, measuring diversity, equity and inclusion, leading diversity, equity and inclusion, and influential diversity, equity and inclusion change agents.

For more information, please visit



Media enquiries:
Emma-Louise Jones, digital PR manager at Ciphr
t: 01628 244206

Chris Boddice, chief marketing officer at Ciphr



Ciphr conducted an online survey between 12-15 June 2023 of 1,000 employed UK adults (over the age of 18 years old) working at organisations with at least 26 employees. The survey is unweighted, and as such is only a snapshot of the working-age population.

Survey sample: 7% of respondents are 18- to 24-year-olds, 31% are 25- to 34-year-olds, 35% are 35- to 44-year-olds, 16% are 45- to 54-year-olds and 11% are over 55 years old. 86% are white and 14% are Black, Asian and minority ethnic employees.

Nearly half (48%) of survey respondents are employed by organisations with 1,001+ employees, a fifth (21%) have 251 to 1,000 employees and nearly a third (31%) have 26 to 250 employees.

8% work in senior management roles at their organisation (and hold the following job roles: owner or partner, CEO/president/chairperson, chief financial officer, director, C-level executive, or senior management), 20% work in junior and middle management positions and 72% work in non-managerial roles. (103 respondents 'preferred not to say'.)

Ciphr is a leading UK-based provider of integrated HR, payroll, learning and recruitment solutions. Ciphr also offers off-the-shelf and bespoke eLearning content and diversity and inclusion consultancy services through its subsidiary Marshall E-Learning.

Ciphr’s integrated HCM platform helps organisations manage their end-to-end employee lifecycle so they can deliver an amazing employee experience. With Ciphr, organisations can be confident they can access all their people data in one place, thanks to secure, time-saving integrations between Ciphr’s own solutions and API connections to specialist, third-party tools.

Ciphr is a privately held company backed by ECI Partners, and headquartered in Marlow, Buckinghamshire. Over 200 employees work across the group, which includes Ciphr, Digits Industries, Marshall E-Learning, and Payroll Business Solutions (PBS).

Ciphr spokespeople are available to provide expert media commentary on a broad range of topics, including HR strategy, people management, employee experience and wellbeing, learning and development, the future of work, tech trends, business and leadership, marketing, and more.