Lifestyle changes are on the move

The UK’s CEBR – Centre for Economic and Business Research – claim an important change in preferences towards work is now on the move

Many people are choosing jobs which offer less pay but more attractive lifestyles or ways to help others

This change in attitude is already ‘a key element in around a third of the UK economy’ and is now affecting the attitude to and nature of work in the other two-thirds

Importantly, it’s having an impact on national productivity levels, GDP and thus public finances

The CEBR believes this change in job preferences – this new ‘lifestyle economy‘ – has reduced GDP growth by 0.4% per annum which ‘could explain’ around a quarter of the measured productivity shortfall

They also believe it ‘could explain’ the persistent public sector deficit – ‘without it, the deficit of £46 billion last year would have been only £10 billion’

They conclude that, if this lifestyle economy trend continues, productivity growth will be held back so either taxes will have to rise or growth in public spending be further constrained

They concede, however, that there are compensating welfare gains too: “It is much better for people to be doing what they want to do than doing jobs they don’t like, even if those jobs are better remunerated”

Indeed, it is estimated that a third of jobs in the UK now could be described as ‘lifestyle based’

The British Social Attitudes Survey supports this assessment – they found that the proportion who think they have a ‘good job’ has risen sharply, from 57% in 1989 to 71% in 2015 – a ‘good job’ is defined as one with at least four positive attributes such as being interesting, helping others and/ or society, offering chances of advancement

Significant changes in UK occupations, according to the CEBR, support this view viz:

  • Managers – Down from 3.9m in 2008 to 2.6m in 2017
  • Professionals – Up from 3.7m to 6.4m
  • Care & Leisure – Up from 2.4m to 3.0m
  • Teaching professionals – Up from 1.298m to 1.556m
  • Health professionals – Up from 334,000 to 563,000
  • Artistic & Literary – Up from 190,000 to 416,000

In particular:

  • ICT professionals – Up from 444,000 to 922,000
  • Business & Statistics professionals – Up from 377,000 to 729,000
  • Scientific professionals – Up from 141,000 to 195,000
  • Sports & Fitness – Up from 120,000 to 188,000


  • We don’t live to work but work to live
  • Hence, we support the above trend which seems to be ongoing
  • But the significant impact it is claimed to be having on GDP growth has to be treated with great caution given the basic GDP statistic used is, in our view, seriously flawed




1 comment

    • Tamsin Stanley on 18 November 2017 at 1:00 PM
    • Reply

    This sounds an excellent direction of travel. All the more so if, as you say, some choices around this ‘lifestyle economy’ are geared towards ‘ways to help others’. ‘Job satisfaction’ contributes enormously to the feeling of well-being in life. This sounds a win:win if ever there was.

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