With demand and vacancies so high, and with people having been potentially stuck treading water in jobs they don’t want for 18 months, employees want to - and can afford to - move on.    That’s the conclusion of a survey of over 6,000 adults in the UK showing confidence to move jobs is soaring.

Almost 7 in every 10 employees (69%) say they feel confident to move to a new job in the next couple of months, according to a poll undertaken by recruiter Randstad UK.  And only 16% of workers describe themselves as worried about trying to get a new job,

The survey found that those in construction, tech and logistics were among the most confident in the country with workers in manufacturing being the most confident where 74% said they felt confident about moving to a new job now.  

HR, legal, and accountancy professionals were among the least confident in the country although  call centre workers were the least confident (59%).  Indeed, almost a quarter (23%) of call centre workers described themselves as “worried” about trying to secure a new job.

There was very little difference between those on fixed term contract and permanent employee although temporary workers appeared slightly more positive.

Victoria Short, CEO at Randstad UK said, “The Great Resignation is here and job loyalty is a thing of the past.  Very few people moved jobs during the pandemic - the missing quits.  A lot of people who wanted to quit just hadn't and they led to a deluge of resignations.  Another factor is burnout.  Some teams have been running too hot for too long.   The pandemic has changed how some people think about life, work, and what they want out of both.  It’s made people step back and rethink their lives.  Covid has reminded them that life is too short - and the number of vacancies means that not only do they want to change one of the key aspects of their life - their jobs - they can.  In some cases, people are changing their whole careers.  The most important factor however, is that ties to firms have become weaker.  Working from home means you are no longer sitting next to a friend or that you have a particularly good commute.  Suddenly those factors, which are surprisingly powerful, are negated; working from home makes it matter less who you work for.  Combined, that is making the UK jobs market more fluid than ever.”

Overall, almost a quarter (24%) of employees in the UK say they plan to move jobs within the next three to six months.

This level of job hopping will come at some cost to the UK’s private sector.  A major cost implication for firms replacing professional staff is the lost output a company experiences during the period of time the new worker is getting up to speed.  According to research carried out by Oxford Economics, a new professional worker takes 28 weeks to reach optimum productivity - which has an attached cost of £25,200 per employee.

Adrian Smith, senior director of operations at Randstad UK said: “This could be very expensive for UK plc.  By way of example, there are 275,000 accountants in the UK.  If, in the next few months, even a sixth of them choose to act on their new found belief in their career prospects and get a new job with a different employer - for better pay or conditions - that would cost firms more than a billion pounds in lost productivity alone.”

Randstad advised employers and HR leaders looking to combat a mass exodus and retain their top talent to start by reexamining their remuneration levels.

Adrian Smith said, “It might be a new world of work but employees say that when it comes to job loyalty, the factor that is most important for keeping them at their current job is money.  So make sure you are still paying as much as your peers.  Secondly, tailor your employer brand proposition to your audience.”

“However, there are subtleties at play.  Marketers are more interested in a company's commitment to CSR and flexible working than others.  Administrators give more weight to job security and free parking than anyone else.  And people in financial services tend to care about  career progression more than other professionals - while call centre workers put more store in mental health support.  

“Interestingly, the most mercenary of all the industries we looked at was the HR professional.  HRs are more attracted to childcare / family benefits, high street shopping discounts and salary than other professions.  When we asked ‘What factors are most important in accepting a job?’ 86% of HR professionals said ‘salary’ - only 67% of the lawyers we spoke to said the same thing.”

The research also highlighted the sustainability of the industrial talent pool - with 36% of people in sales and 46% of call centre workers saying they planned on leaving the industry within the next 3-6 months.  At the other end of the spectrum was construction, where 84% said they wouldn’t consider leaving the industry - and risk / compliance were 88% said the same.

Victoria Short said, “The Great Resignation is going to be tricky for those industries that can move workers around.  It is going to be very difficult indeed for industries where employees are trying to get out altogether.

“Employers can help retain staff by making sure that they feel valued by their manager, that they foster a sense of belonging and ensure people have a sense of advancement within the organisation.  Research demonstrates that employees value these much higher than employers realise.  They should also reassure employees that they don’t want them back in the office five days a week, as employees are looking for two days a week at home.  Lastly, firms must offer their staff a sense of newness - no one wants to go back to the old normal.”

The research was unveiled at a webinar hosted by Randstad, The Great Resignation - Coping with Mass Exodus, including special guest speaker Christine Armstrong, management expert and author of The Mother of All Jobs  - How to Have Children and a Career and Stay Sane.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: James Staunton, 07903207726, james@AirCoverPR.co.uk