A significant shift is on the horizon for the UK job market as over a quarter of the workforce plans to change employers in the next six months, according to a new survey by Randstad UK.

Randstad UK’s January 2024 poll, which surveyed 12,000 individuals aged 18 to retirement, revealed that 27 percent of workers intend to switch jobs within the next half year.

This figure marks an increase from 24 percent in January 2023, 22 percent in 2022, and 19 percent in 2021. Interestingly, the current trend mirrors the pre-pandemic statistic of 26 percent in January 2020.

Also, the survey highlighted that nearly a fifth of employees (19%) had already changed jobs in the six months leading up to January 2024, compared to 16 percent in the previous year, 15 percent in 2022, and 12 percent in 2021. In January 2020, 17 percent reported having changed employers in the preceding six months.

The data also shows a gender disparity: 23 percent of men had changed jobs compared to 16 percent of women.

Reasons for Job Changes

The primary motivation for workers leaving their current positions was to improve their work-life balance, cited by 41 percent of respondents. Additionally, 30 percent left after receiving an offer they couldn’t refuse, 24 percent due to a lack of career opportunities, 22 percent because of a lack of interest in their current job, and 20 percent owing to insufficient flexible work options.

Victoria Short, Chief Executive of Randstad UK, commented on the findings: “The workforce is as mobile now as it was before the pandemic. With over a quarter of employees planning to switch jobs in the next six months, businesses must double down on their efforts to create engaging, supportive, and flexible places to work. That means hybrid and remote working options, competitive pay, and demonstrable opportunities for career advancement — those will all be critical to employers who don’t want to haemorrhage their talent in 2024.”

Top Priorities for Job Seekers

When selecting a new job, the top priority for workers remains work-life balance (60%), followed closely by an attractive salary and benefits (58%) and job security (53%). Good training (52%) and workplace equity (50%) were also significant factors. Notably, workplace equity has emerged as a new addition to the top five, replacing a pleasant work atmosphere.

“Given the workforce’s massive appetite for training, reskilling, and upskilling, this looks like a good place to start for employers looking to navigate this period of higher staff turnover,” added Short.

Discrimination and Career Progression

The survey also shed light on discrimination and obstacles to career progression, revealing that 57 percent of workers feel they lack enough opportunities to develop in their current roles. More concerning is that over half of workers who identify as minorities (53%) reported facing career progression obstacles due to their identity, compared to 34 percent of non-minority workers.

“These results are a stark reminder of the systemic barriers that still exist in some of the UK’s workplaces. It’s completely unacceptable that over half of workers who identify as being from a minority feel their identity has hindered their career progression. We weren’t even asking about historic issues — from which we might have all moved on more recently — we asked about their current employers, where they are working right now. Employers must commit to creating truly inclusive environments where every employee has equal opportunity to succeed. This means not only addressing biases but actively fostering diversity at all levels of the organisation. From a purely pragmatic point of view, half of candidates also tell us that a fair and equitable workplace is important to them when they’re changing jobs — even the most hard-headed employers, not convinced by idealistic arguments, might like to consider their stances in light of those findings,” said Short.

 

 

 

 

Avatar

Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at 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.