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Over four million employees set to job hop in the next 6 months

Last Updated on: 22nd November 2023, 02:15 pm

Almost three quarters (70%) of UK employees expect to still be at their current workplace in 6 months time, according to brand new research from specialist consultancy, Barnett Waddingham. But one in seven workers (14%) think they’ll have moved elsewhere, while 15% aren’t sure. That 14% equates to 4.2 million employees looking for work, which is at odds with the 1.1 million vacancies currently live in the UK.

Most of those looking to jump ship are trying to fight the rising cost of living; 34% are looking for a better salary elsewhere, and 7% want a better workplace pension. This hunt for higher wages is especially true of older workers; 44% of 45-56 year olds are set to leave for more cash, compared to 37% of 35-44 year olds, 35% of 25-34s, and just 29% of 16-24s.

But for employers trying to balance retention with wage inflation risks, there are many employees looking for a better experience which could be solved within their current role. Some are looking to change their ways of working; 22% of those looking to move want more flexibility, while 15% want to work from home. Interestingly, not only do women lead the way in voting with their feet for more flexibility (25% vs 15% of men), but they are also most likely to stay in their current role because of its flexibility (32% vs 23% of men).

A quarter of people (24%) simply dislike the work they are doing – this is especially true of women (27%), versus 16% of men. And others want a better team (16%), or better perks (e.g. employee benefits) (14%). All of these could be solved with more proactive line management and better team structuring, without necessarily needing to look to pay increases.

Of course, some would-be-leavers are moving for unavoidable reasons. 18% are looking for a total career change, while 13% want to move to a different city or country.

And others are worried about their career prospects; 8% think they’ll get made redundant, and the same number think their role – or the business altogether – won’t exist in six months’ time.

There are some silver linings however. 70% of employees think they will still be in their current workplace, and of those, 37% will be there because they love the work they’re doing and are in the best place to do it. 30% value the flexibility of their role, 25% think they have a great team, 21% believe they’re on the best salary they could be, and 14% think the same of their workplace pension.

Julia Turney, Partner and Head of Platform & Benefits, Barnett Waddingham, said: “UK unemployment is climbing, and pay growth still lags well behind inflation. Critically, the number of open job vacancies has been falling for 9 months. This means there are dissatisfied employees with nowhere to go; they want to move because they’re not happy, but the labour market conditions may be keeping them still.

“Employers have an opportunity to tackle this problem head on. Some employees are looking for better salaries; this may be feasible financially, or it may not, but it’s down to employers to have those conversations transparently and openly.

But there are many solutions which don’t involve higher pay. Firms can offer better benefit structures – pensions and financial education more than beer fridges and ping pong – and those which have hybrid structures should make sure those policies work for everyone, balancing team cohesion and training with flexibility and freedom. Not least, all businesses must train and invest in managers, who are the solution to team, work, and role issues. Last year’s war for talent is not over; it has just evolved from the grounds of recruitment to retention and progression.”

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