Horrible Bosses: Have you ever Imagined Killing your Boss?

"Do you hate your boss?"

This is just one of the questions we put to the British public, intent on finding out the state of employee/employer relationships in the UK today.

If you replied yes, then you’re not alone - it turns out 22% of people feel the same, and unhappily admit to hating their boss

The unhappiest industries

Sadly, more than one third of respondents said they dread going to work every day, and two thirds said they ‘live for the weekend’. One in five also said they ‘hate their job’, with 52% naming their boss as the main cause of their dissatisfaction. In fact, one in five people would forego a pay rise in exchange for having their boss fired.

The unhappiest industry was retail, with 30% of retail workers claiming to hate their job. This was closely followed by construction (27%), and public sector workers (25%).

The most ‘murderous’ industries

The Horrible Bosses film may be a work of fiction, but our recent survey has revealed that it may not be all that far from the truth. Unbelievably, 12% of respondents admitted to having actually imagined killing their boss.

Construction workers emerged as having the worst relationship with their line managers with nearly a quarter admitting to murderous thoughts (22%) followed closely by those working in the media industry (15%):

Industry% of people who have imagined killing their boss
Construction22%
Media & Communications15%
Science & Tech14%
Arts & Entertainment13%
Retail13%
Finance12%
Transport12%
Education11%
Public Sector11%
Energy9%
Administrative7%
Health & Social Workers7%
Hospitality & Leisure7%

Bad boss behaviour

44% of our respondents also claimed that their boss had set them unachievable tasks. 57% of respondents said they felt under pressure to catch up on emails or work tasks outside of working hours, with one in five estimating that they work four to six hours extra per week unpaid.

This pressure is not only costing employees their time, but it seems to be costing them their health, too. 39% of people said their boss has had negatively impacted their mental or physical health, with 45% also classifying their boss as a ‘control freak’. 12.5 million working days were lost in the UK in the last financial year due to work-related stress, depression and anxiety. In 44% of these cases, workload was cited as the root cause.

Despite the fact that 81% of respondents work unpaid extra hours each week to stay on top of their work, 54% of respondents had never asked their boss for a pay rise. Whilst many attributed this to feeling too nervous to ask or to being undeserving of a higher salary, an overwhelming 41% said it was down to believing that their boss would say no. 48% also said that their boss had claimed credit for their work, with half also saying their boss had previously blamed them for something they had done wrong themselves.

Disappointing interpersonal relationships with bosses were further highlighted when respondents were quizzed on day-to-day interactions with their seniors. 45% of survey respondents claimed to have been ignored by their boss, and 44% believed their manager had not given them adequate praise. 41% of respondents avoid their boss at work events, and 23% said they would even avoid them if they saw them in the street.

The cost of horrible bosses

The results of our research have demonstrated the rather demoralising truth of employer/employee relationships in the UK today, relationships which are frayed to say the least.

Moreover, they show the true extent to which having a horrible boss can have a hugely negative impact on the employee’s life as a whole, adversely affecting both their physical and mental wellbeing.

With the average cost of hiring a new employee estimated to be £25,181, it’s clear that employee satisfaction is something companies should be making a priority. This survey really demonstrates just how much staff happiness hinges on the behavior of managers.

If you are a manager, read our advice on how to motivate staff in the workplace and how to scale company culture to make sure you are doing everything you can to support your staff.

2,222 responses were collected between October and November 2017 by independent survey provider Vivatic

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