All-Member Survey results: Your issues, concerns and priorities

Jonathan Green · 4 October 2023

Jonathan Green, Prospect’s Head of Research, provides an overview of the main findings from our 2023 All-Member Survey.

Earlier this summer, we ran our latest All-Member Survey to hear about the important issues that currently matter the most to our members.

This is a crucial exercise that we regularly undertake – as it’s your priorities and concerns that drive our work as a union.

For example, the last All-Member Survey in January 2020 was instrumental in guiding our campaigns on climate change, on workers’ rights, and on technology and the future of work.

We know the world doesn’t standstill and that’s why it was necessary to run the survey again.

A summary of the results from the All-Members’ Survey 2023, with more detailed sector-by-sector analysis, is available to download from the Prospect Library.

But here is a broad snapshot of the key findings:

Earnings and pension saving

  • The sectors with the highest proportion of respondents earning less than £25,000 are the heritage (36%), Bectu (25%) and education (25%) sectors. Female respondents are more likely to earn less than £25,000 than male respondents (25% and 10% respectively).
  • Those most likely to earn over £60,000 per year work in aviation (52%) or energy (55%).
  • More than 80% of respondents are members of a pension scheme, either a defined benefit or defined contribution scheme.
  • Those not saving for a pension are concentrated in the Bectu (28%) and education (12%) sectors, respondents in these sectors are more likely to be self-employed or in some other form of atypical work engagement.

How have working arrangements changed since the pandemic?

  • During the pandemic more than half the respondents worked from home.
  • The sectors most likely to have been furloughed were aviation (21%), heritage (26%) and Bectu (23%).
  • Since the pandemic there has been a widespread adoption of hybrid working in the civil service (63%), nuclear (64%), IT&T (57%) and science (55%) sectors, and an increase in permanent homeworking in the civil service (from 5% to 15%) and IT&T sector (from 17% to 28%).

Cost of living crisis

  • Over three quarters of respondents have been directly affected by the cost-of-living crisis in some way, nearly half regularly feel anxious about rising prices.
  • Those most likely to be affected work in heritage (83%), Bectu (82%), education (82%) or the civil service (80%).
  • Rising prices have made an overwhelming majority of respondents feel financially worse off (73%), more than double the proportion in the 2020 survey (34%).
  • Nearly two thirds of respondents (63%) say that the value of their work income has been eroded in the last 12 months.

Work issues and attitudes to work

  • Respondents feel less secure at work (36% in 2020, rising to 41% in 2023), 40% are more pessimistic about the future of their industry and a majority (58%) say workforce morale has deteriorated since 2020.
  • Work fatigue is a significant issue in all sectors of the union (42% overall),
  • A long hours culture (57%) and poor work life balance (44%) is particularly highlighted by those working in the Bectu sector.
  • Other work issues include few opportunities for career progression (46%), nearly a third say that the boundaries between work and home life have been blurred (29%).
  • Despite these work concerns 60% of respondents are motivated to give their best at work and a majority (58%) feel supported if they have a work-related problem.

Political choices and priorities

  • There has been a significant shift in voting intentions since the Survation survey in 2020. The Labour Party remains the party with the most positive support (slightly down from 40% to 36%) followed by the Green Party (up from 4% to 10%).
  • There has been a collapse in support for the Conservative Party (down from 24% to 6%) and a fall in support the Liberal Democrats (down from 15% to 8%).
  • There has been a big fall in support for the SNP (down from 48% to 24%), but a slight increase in support for Plaid Cymru (up from 10% to 15%).
  • The sectors where the Conservative Party was the leading party and there has been a steep decline in support are aviation, defence, energy and nuclear. In these sectors one in five respondents say they don’t know who they would vote for.
  • Although there has been a significant shift in voting intentions the political issues that respondents feel are most important have broadly stayed the same. The four priorities are the NHS (63%), cost of living (46%), climate change (35%) and the economy (33%). In 2020 austerity was the second most important issue, this has been replaced by the cost of living.

Action on climate change

  • An overwhelming majority of respondents (81%) say that climate change is important to them, slightly down from the last survey (86%). A majority of respondents in the Bectu (52%), civil service (54%), education (51%), heritage (64%) and science (63%) sectors say the issue is very important.
  • Very few respondents (4%) feel the government has a clear strategy for a ‘just transition’ to a net zero economy, 71% think there is no clear strategy, this view is shared across all sectors.
  • The issues that respondents feel the government should prioritise are securing a green energy supply (61%), investment in new green industries (52%) and more action to encourage a change in behaviours that affect the environment (52%).

Download the summary of the All-Member Survey results from the Prospect Library.