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Hi ho hi ho – UK employees happiest in family firms, research

Employees in UK-based family businesses are happier than those of non-family firms, research from the Institute for Family Business has found.

Employees in UK-based family businesses are happier than those of non-family firms, research from the Institute for Family Business has found, and this human capital could be giving family businesses a competitive advantage.

The report, conducted for the IFB by Cass, Warwick and Birmingham Business Schools, found employees in family businesses were most likely to regard their managers as "good" at responding to suggestions and at including employees in decision-making processes – with 51% of employees providing this rating compared to 46% in non-family owned businesses.

Workers in family businesses reported greater loyalty to their firm, with 78% saying they strongly agree with the statement "I feel loyal to my organisation" compared to 74% among non-family firms – this could give family firms an advantage when recruiting and retaining staff. 

Family-firm staff also felt more satisfied with their job security, with 65% feeling secure compared to 61% in non-family enterprises. 

Mark Hastings, director general of the IFB, said in a statement: "Family businesses are the backbone of the UK economy and this report shows that they are also most people's preferred employer."

He added: "It is clear that the strong family values and connections in family firms make a real and positive difference for employees."

Family businesses account for 40% of private sector employment in the UK – a total of 9.2 million jobs.

However, family business didn't come up trumps in all areas, the study also found family businesses were less likely to have proper human resource management structures, and offered fewer training opportunities than other firms.

The study was based on data gathered for the UK government's Workplace Employment Relations Survey 2011, which covered 2,680 workplaces and 21,981 employees.  

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