The great resignation - learning to work in different ways
1st September 2021

The UK workforce are beginning to rethink their career priorities which is apparently starting to prompt a ‘Great Resignation’ in the job market.

This is according to new research from the HR industry, which found that employees are keen to find a new role that gives them better benefits and flexibility.

The uncertainty created by the pandemic has created conditions perfect for job switching, as employers have been forced to work in different ways – more remote working or a hybrid of office and working from home - as well as working around other commitments outside of work i.e. childcare.

As many as one in twenty (4.7 per cent) UK workers resigned from their role throughout the pandemic and now the increasing economic stability is fuelling fresh waves of career changes. It has also been a time of reflection for many people without the rush of the day-to-day commute and many hours away from home, allowing people to take stock and reconsider their positions.

The number one reason for a change in career cited in the UK was salary and benefits, following recent reports of salary surges amid candidate shortages. As a recruitment agency that prides itself on the quality of our candidates, we can vouch for the fact that there has been a shortage of high-calibre candidates and we have been supporting our clients with creating better options and benefits for attracting the right people for the vacancies they need to fill.

As well as this, location and accessibility was the second most popular reason for moving jobs, with commuters clearly having time to consider the way in which travelling to work affects their well-being.

The mass introduction of remote, virtual working has clearly had an impact on employee outlooks, with work atmosphere and flexibility being two reasons indicated as motivators for leaving a role.

Job security was also listed as a factor, suggesting that some of the 5.1 million furloughed have begun to consider how this affects their position, and whether they want to look for something more secure.

Interestingly, the UK had one of the highest Covid-related resignation rates in Europe, only beaten by Germany, with 6 per cent of the workforce moving roles. This has led to growing employer concerns about talent retention and business owners and managers looking to improve their flexibility options to retain and keep their staff.

In the UK, six out of ten (59 per cent) have now had a positive experience regarding discussions around when and where to work, and nearly two thirds (65.5 per cent) of UK workers have stated they have a positive work-life balance. This is a huge step change as prior to the pandemic, working from home was largely considered a ‘luxury’ and a less than common perk.

Most employees are going to take advantage of these new benefits offered by employers, with more than half (56.9 per cent) of the UK workforce now planning to work frequently from home when possible. Especially since, to so many of us, it has become a way of life.

Our MD Chris Jones has first-hand experience of how the easing of pandemic restrictions has opened a massive pressure valve in the job market. We’ve seen our job registrations soar to pre-pandemic levels and have needed to divert our resources into gaining and retaining the great candidates we have to offer our clients. He had this to say:

‘Employers that revert back to the same pattern of forcing their workforce into the office each day and offering zero flexibility are going to find their retention levels drop and attrition rates rise quite dramatically and quickly. It is well documented in the media that candidates have lots of options and it is a “job rich” market, so Employees who feel under-valued or aren’t offered flexible working can easily find an Employer that will offer that flexibility and better work-life balance. On top of this, candidates are being more cautious around picking companies they want to work for, so applicant volume and suitability is dropping, increasing time to hire.’

If you'd like to discuss this further, or need recruitment support for your business, call us on 01442 600 100 or email [email protected] 


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