UK employees appear to be running out of patience with their organisations as they face up to Britain’s fourth year of economic downturn, according to a report from Randstad, the world’s second largest recruitment company. Randstad’s annual World of Work research of over 200 organisations and 1,400 employees has identified three key talent dynamics which could affect Britain’s recovery if unchecked.

The Spread Thin Effect:
Lower headcount budgets mean 23% of organisations acknowledge their people are working at full stretch – and have no spare capacity to achieve more. Yet organisations admit the need to make people work harder to increase productivity is a top three priority on the HR agenda.

Boiling Point Talent:
A tenth of those people surveyed are actively looking for a new job, to escape the grind of working in their current organisation. Thirty six per cent of employed respondents’ state they would take the first job they were offered elsewhere as long as the salary and benefits were commensurate with their current position, whilst 7% would take the first job offered regardless of the remuneration package. Those earning over £52,000, regularly working over 40 hours a week (typically people in critical organisational positions) emerged as the most disengaged and most likely to move on as soon as they can.

The top three reasons for people wanting to leave their employer included: 1) lack of career opportunities, 2) personal/lifestyle choices, and, 3) uncompetitive remuneration – which employers do recognise as push factors. However, only 26% of those people surveyed said they received a pay review in the last year.

Stagnant Talent Pools:
A desire to move does not necessarily translate into an ability to move. Lack of demand and an uncertain economy mean many people feel compelled to stay with an employer they would rather leave. Fourteen per cent of respondents admit to feeling dissatisfied with their current employer.

Mark Bull, CEO of Randstad UK, said: “Our report highlights that employees are creaking under the strain of having to work exceptionally hard over the last few years,  to keep their organisations going through what remains a very uncertain economic climate."

“For some, the test is simply too exhausting; they are starting to give up, with stagnant talent pools emerging in organisations - the people may be present but they are contributing little.  Others are tired of working so hard for such a long time with little additional reward. They are reaching boiling point in their desire to be recognised - driving them to consider options elsewhere. However, our research shows that doing ‘meaningful work’ under clear leadership is a key motivator which doesn’t require significant financial investment.  Tapping into this will enable organisations to be more productive, and will help retain and attract the talent they need.  It’s not easy to get right but it’s crucial that organisations review their engagement strategies as a matter of urgency. Ensuring that line management understands and is prepared to perform their pivotal role in driving engagement is a vital component of this.”

The full report will be available on October 17th - to register your interest please email Belinda Walmsley at

The World of Work Research Preview Report
The report was compiled using data from the following proprietary research:
The Workmonitor Mobility Index
• The index tracks worker confidence and captures expectations surrounding the likelihood of changing employers within a six month time frame, providing a comprehensive understanding of job market sentiments and employee trends. In addition to measuring mobility, the survey also tracks employee satisfaction and personal motivation, and includes a rotating set of themed questions. The quarterly research is conducted in 29 countries around the world.
• The quantitative study is conducted via an online questionnaire among a population aged 18-65, working a minimum of 24 hours a week in a paid job (not self-employed). The sample size was 405 interviews in the UK conducted by Survey Sampling International. Research for the third wave of 2011 was conducted between July 18th and August 8th.
Randstad client and candidate surveys
• This client and candidate surveys were completed by 1,237 respondents across both the public and private sector between 23rd July and 16th September 2011. The surveys were conducted on-line. The full report will be issued on the 17th October.