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In a brand new survey conducted by specialist consultancy Barnett Waddingham, almost three quarters (70%) of UK employees expect to stay at their current employers in six months. A quarter of workers (14%) think they’ll be moving elsewhere, while 15% aren’t sure. 4.2 million employees are looking for work, which is at odds with the 1.1 million vacancies currently available.

The majority of people looking to jump ship are trying to lower their cost of living; 34% are looking for a better salary elsewhere, and 7% want to improve their workplace pension. In particular, older workers are on the lookout for better wages; 44% of those in their 45-56s are planning to leave for more money, compared to 37% of those in their 35-44s, 35% of those in their 25-34s and only 29% of those in their 16-24s.

Many employees want a better experience which could be solved within their current role, yet employers are trying to balance retention with wage inflation risks. Some people are looking to change their working methods; 22% want more flexibility, while 15% want to work from home. In addition to voting with their feet for more flexibility (25% vs 15% of men), women are also more likely than men to stay in their current roles because they are flexible (32% vs 23%).

Twenty-four percent of workers dislike their jobs – particularly women (27%), compared to 16% of men. Other respondents would like better perks (e.g. employee benefits) (16%). A more proactive line manager and better team structure could resolve all of these issues without necessarily increasing pay.

There are some potential leavers who are moving for unavoidable reasons. A total of 18% of respondents want a total career change, while 13% want to relocate.

Other respondents worry about their career prospects; 8% think they’ll be laid off and the same number believes their role – or the company altogether – won’t exist in six months.

The situation does have some silver linings, however. Approximately 70% of employees think they will remain in their current workplace, and 37% believe they will remain there because they enjoy the work they’re doing. There are 30% of employees who value the flexibility of their job, 25% who believe they have a great team, 21% who believe their salary is the best possible, and 14% who believe that their pension plan is adequate.

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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Author Amie

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