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Job control in Britain: First findings from the skills and employment survey 2012

Employees’ ability to influence decisions at work is one of the most important factors affecting their motivation and psychological well-being and is also associated with good physical health. This report examines the trends in different types of employee control in British workplaces and presents a mixed picture. Overall, the level of task discretion (employees’ immediate control over their work tasks) has been stable since 2001, following a sharp decline in the 1990s. But the trends since 2006 have been different for men and women, with women seeing a small rise, and men a further fall in task discretion. There was a rise in the proportion of employees working in semi-autonomous teams (those with significant control over their work activities) from 14% in 2006 to 18% in 2012. This rise reverses a previous long-term decline. Between 2006 and 2012 there was also a rise in the proportion of jobs using self-managed teams, from 4% to 7%. Halting a previous upward trend, there has been little change between 2006 and 2012 in formal provisions for participation in wider organisational decisions. Yet, the proportion of employees who report that they have a great deal or quite a lot of say over work organisation declined from 36% to 27% between 2001 and 2012.