A recent survey has shown that a significant portion of the British workforce is actively seeking new job opportunities, with over half of respondents expressing a desire for change.

The study, conducted by the global talent services company Morgan McKinley as part of its 2024 Salary Guide, paints a picture of the UK job market, its motivations, and the challenges both employees and employers face in a rapidly evolving landscape.

Desire for Change

The survey, which gathered insights from 3,400 professionals across the UK, found that a staggering 51 percent of respondents are planning to actively look for new employment within the next six months. The most significant driving force behind this wave of job-seeking is the aspiration for a ‘higher salary,’ with 42 percent of those surveyed expressing this as their primary reason for wanting to switch jobs. Following closely behind is the pursuit of ‘meaningful and impactful work,’ a sentiment shared by 13 percent of respondents.

Dissatisfaction with Benefits

British workers appear to be dissatisfied with their current employment packages, as 59 percent of those surveyed expressed being ‘neutral,’ ‘dissatisfied,’ or ‘highly dissatisfied’ with their current benefit packages. The top five desired benefits among UK employees include the ability to ‘work from home,’ ‘bonus incentives,’ ‘pension plans,’ ‘health insurance,’ and ‘flexible working hours.’

Salary Expectations

Despite these concerns, the survey reflects optimism in the job market. Nearly half of the professionals surveyed (49%) anticipate a salary increase in 2024, while a significant 70 percent of employers plan to enhance salary offers for certain in-demand roles in the coming year.

Employer Challenges

Employers, on the other hand, have faced numerous challenges. The survey revealed that 86 percent of organisations in the UK found hiring ‘quite’ or ‘very’ competitive throughout 2023. Notably, 46 percent of companies lost out on hiring new talent over the last six months due to their inability to compete on salary and benefits. Additionally, 40 percent of employers foresee the ‘lack of skilled candidates available’ as their primary recruitment challenge in 2024. Despite these obstacles, over half (52%) of UK businesses still have plans to hire in the next six months.

What is causing slow recruitment?

David Leithead, Chief Operations Officer of Morgan McKinley UK, weighed in on the findings, noting, “The underlying economic gloom caused many employers to slow recruitment; the frenzy to secure new hires has been replaced by companies taking time and care to ensure the best hiring decisions are made. Despite this, the pressure to find new talent has remained, as companies look to drive ahead with change agendas, satisfy new regulatory and legal regimes, maximise commercial opportunities, and respond to turnover.”

Leithead continued, “No matter the macro climate, it remains true always that the right talent – that can drive progress and improvement – will remain in demand, and companies will pay well to secure them. With the shortage of skilled professionals available, take steps to keep your people engaged, supported, and happy; offering benefits that are meaningful to the individual’s specific situation will help here. Benefits around wellbeing and flexibility remain top of the pile.”





Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.