Here's the (surprisingly young) age at which you are the least motivated

Emma Haslett
Follow Emma
Exploravision Awards Showcase Student Science Achievements
Younger tend to be the least motivated (Source: Getty)

Thought young people start off their careers full of enthusiasm, then become gradually more jaded from there?

Think again: for new research has suggested 20 is the age at which workers are the least motivated - while those in the twilight years of their working lives are also the most enthusiastic.

The study, by leadership development group Full Potential, showed a third of 20-year-olds believed their work-life balance was suffering, while 25 per cent said they were stressed, 22 per cent said they hated workplace bureaucracy and 20 per cent said tension at work was making them miserable. All of which meant they gave their motivation levels 5.9 out of 10.

Meanwhile, 51-year-olds said they were at 7.7 out of 10 - making them the most enthusiastic group. They said they were making the most of flexible working and opportunities to learn and develop their expertise.

According to the study, 67 per cent of the 2,000 people questioned said flexible working was their biggest motivator, while 46 per cent said they wanted work that stretched and challenged them.

Some 44 per cent said the most important factor was freedom to make their own decisions, while salary was the most important fact for a third of people. Just over a third said it was duvet days or days off on their birthdays, and 28 per cent said promotion was the most important factor.

Read more: *Yawn* This is why UK workers are quitting their jobs

Employees' biggest demotivators

1 Little work/life balance 33%
2 Not being able to work remotely 26%
3 Job insecurity and uncertainty 25%
4 A lack of recognition or reward for the job I’m doing 22%
5 The team I work with/or manage 21%
=6 Stress 18%
=6 No flexible working time 18%
=7 Too much bureaucracy 16%
=7 Conflict & tension 16%
8 An unfriendly culture 15%
9 Too few promotional opportunities 14%
10 Meetings 13%
11 My boss 12%
12 Internal politics 11%
13 Performance appraisals 5%
=14 Routine 4%
=14 Being told what to do 4%
15 Hot desking 3%
16 Lack of feedback 2%

“People might be surprised that 20-year-olds were found to be the least motivated workers in Britain, but many bosses and leaders are getting it wrong by trying to motivate their young workforce in the same way that they motivate themselves, assuming they are identical to them," said Carole Gaskell, Full Potential's managing director.

"But now the younger generation is less motivated by money or material awards but more by autonomy and a work/life balance. The truth is long term workplace motivation isn’t fuelled by perks or policies, but by whether our own individual motivators are being met. Regardless of age or title, we are all driven by a unique blend of motivators and it’s the strength of these that illustrates our individual motivational blend."

Read more: Are you at peak boring? Here's the age at which Britons are the most dull

Related articles