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People in the UK overestimate people’s bad behaviours

According to the results of an international survey by Ipsos MORI in partnership with the The Behavioural Insights Team, feigning illness to take a day off work is much less common than people think.

Averaging the results from the six countries (the UK, US, Canada, Australia, France and Germany), the average guess was that 52% of workers in their nation have pulled a sickie in the past year, but only 23% admitted to having done so themselves.

People in the UK believe that half of the population have unjustifiably called in sick at least once in the past year, when just one in five say they did so.

The most notable gap is in France, where the consensus is that 40% have pretended to be ill to get a day off work, compared with the 6% that say they actually have.

At the same time, the findings showed that Britons massively underestimate how much exercise they really do, and underestimate the extent to which the majority are saving for retirement.

The survey revealed that the British public think that:

·      69% of their fellow Britons eat more than the recommended amount of sugar, while nutrition surveys show it’s actually only 47%;

·      65% of the population are not saving enough for retirement, when government studies suggest it’s actually 43%;

·      36% of the population have avoided paying the full amount of tax on income or purchases in the past year, when only 6% admit to it themselves; and

·      42% of their countrymen do the recommended amount of exercise each week, when detailed surveys of physical activity show that 57% do.