New research finds that over eight in 10 UK employees are searching for a new role, with over three-quarters stating that their job hunt already began in December 2020. 

New research from Totaljobs, a jobs board, has shown that almost nine in 10 (89 per cent) people in the UK are searching for a job.

When looking at the data more closely, of those who are employed, over eight in 10 (84 per cent) UK employees say they are currently looking for a new job role.

Over a third of respondents (36 per cent) admitted that they were looking for a fresh start in the new year whilst one in 10 (10 per cent) stated that their intention to move jobs was motivated by wanting a change of location. Over half of these (52 per cent) stated that they wished to relocate in the UK.

However, it is clear that Brexit and the impact that has followed has also had an impact with a quarter of respondents (24 per cent) saying that they are looking to relocate in the EU. A further 15 per cent of people stated that they are looking outside Europe altogether.

Despite the turbulence of 2020, around one in 10 workers received training during the last year. In addition, a further three in 10 employees stated that they have used their time during the pandemic productively to further their development by picking up a new skill or qualification.

However, this upskilling has not been enough to completely eradicate fear with two-thirds of respondents (66 per cent) admitting that they are fearful of their job security. Over a quarter (26 per cent) were convinced that they are to become unemployed this year.

In addition, the events of last year have clearly taken a toll as almost half of people (45 per cent) stated that they don’t think they will work in the same sector in 2021 as they did in 2020. A further fifth of workers (18 per cent) said they are looking for work in a more secure industry.

This has even influenced the lives of those planning to retire. Over a third of people who were planning to retire in the next three to five years (35 per cent) say that they now will not. Of these, six in 10 (60 per cent) say that this is because they cannot afford it.

Jon Wilson, CEO of Totaljobs, commented:

2020 was a tough year for the jobs market, and while we’ve seen increased activity on Totaljobs from businesses actively recruiting, for those looking for work, the challenge of having to stand out from the crowd remains.

That’s why it’s such a positive sign that we’re seeing so many people picking up extra skills and qualifications during lockdown. This shows a willingness to keep their progression on track or learn new, transferable skills required to be employable in a different industry.

Over the past year, we’ve seen workers setting new standards for their employment conditions. The rise of remote working has seen candidates move around the country or even relocate outside the UK to find work. The coming months will reveal how much more of an impact the pandemic and Brexit will have on people’s attitudes towards their jobs, their location and their employment terms.

While the full impact of the pandemic will remain unclear for the time being, what we do know is that workers have experienced a huge strain on their working lives during 2020. It is perhaps no surprise that they will be seeking a fresh start and new opportunities in the months to come.

*This research was obtained from Totaljobs’ survey who surveyed 5,842 UK workers between 10-14 December 2020.





Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.