Trades Union Congress

September 2016

The challenge

Trade union membership has steadily fallen in recent years, with private sector staff less and less likely to unionise – and union membership tending to be increasingly being older and working in more affluent sectors. A recent IPPR paper described this as a problem that had been “sidestepped for a generation”. The TUC asked us to conduct a values analysis of ‘young core workers’ (21- to 30-year-old non graduates paid less than £20,000 a year), as part of a report into how this could be changed.

How we approached it

We delved into the Values Modes data for the ‘young core worker’ segment. Our analysis revealed a cohort who were disproportionately Prospectors: optimistic, aspirational, image-conscious and individualistic – motivated by opportunity, competition and convenience.

What happened

These values do not tally neatly with the trade union mission statement, meaning an interesting challenge for the movement. The report, Living for the Weekend, was ultimately published in time for the 2016 Trades Union Congress, and it is hoped it will promote a wider debate.