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Britain’s religious workers are more trusting, satisfied and optimistic than atheists, study shows

The latest study from the Institute for the Impact of Faith in Life (IIFL) reveals that Britain’s religious workers are more trusting of their colleagues than atheists, as well as being more satisfied with their job and optimistic over the future of the UK economy than atheists.

The study, titled ‘Making Faith Work: Job Satisfaction in the UK’, authored by Dr Rakib Ehsan for IIFL shows that, on average, people for whom religion is an important part of their identity are more trusting of their colleagues, more satisfied with their work and more optimistic over the UK economy’s future than atheists and non-religious people.

On key metrics, Brits who identify as more religious are more positive about work and their economic future, than those who are less devout:

  • 77% say they are satisfied with their job, compared to 50% for atheists.
  • 77% trust their colleagues, compared to 49% for atheists.
  • 35% believe that the UK economy’s best days lie ahead, compared to just 16% for atheists.

Dr. Ehsan, senior research associate for IIFL and author of the report, says of the study’s findings:

“The fact that religious Britons are notably more likely to be satisfied with their job than non-believers could be down to a number of factors.

There is mounting evidence that faith can contribute towards psychological resilience and mental strength. This can position one to better withstand the inevitable pressures that come with working life – in turn consolidating levels of job satisfaction.

It is also possible that employer accommodation of religious practices and spiritual beliefs plays a critical part in shaping job satisfaction among workers of faith.

Britain’s world-leading anti-discrimination protections and considerable religious freedoms have fostered a broader workplace culture which is generally accommodating of those of faith.

This should be a source of national pride.”

The report has been produced by IIFL, a research forum examining the role that faith and religious belief plays in the lives of people in the UK, whether at work, at home, or in the community.

For any further information or commentary on the report, please contact Dr Rakib Ehsan, senior research associate. For further information on IIFL, please contact Dr Jake Scott, secretary for the Institute.

Dr Rakib Ehsan
+44 (0) 7878 339 856

Dr Jake Scott
+44 (0) 7490 190 652

Notes for editors:

  • The report is based on a nationally-representative survey conducted by TechneUK, a British Polling Council member.
  • Fieldwork for the survey took place between the 29th of September and the 8th of October 2023.
  • 2,004 UK adults were surveyed across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
  • Respondents were surveyed on various aspects of their approach and attitude to work. Of those who say their religious background is important to their personal identity:
    • 73% say that their employer respects their religious beliefs and accommodates their religious practices. Only 3% do not.
    • 77% say they trust their colleagues, compared to 59% of atheists.
    • 77% say they are satisfied with their job, compared to 50% of atheists.
    • 87% say it is important to carry out their everyday responsibilities and duties in a thorough manner, compared to 70% of atheists.
    • 35% say they are optimistic about the future of the UK economy, compared to 16% of atheists.