A new study by Westfield Health suggests the cost of recruiting new staff to replace employees looking to move jobs could cost UK employers over £48 billion. 

Around 16 million workers are considering moving to a new role, causing recruitment costs to shoot up, research by Westfield Health warns.

This is a significant increase on the number of employees who moved job pre-pandemic with 3.3 million workers changing roles in 2018. This was estimated to cost businesses £9.9 billion at the time.

This interest in changing jobs coincides with the number of open vacancies surpassing one million in the UK, causing pay awards to rise and leading to concern among HR professionals regarding recruiting and retaining staff.

Of the 16 million workers who are considering changing jobs, almost six in 10 (59 per cent) are expected to move for mental health reasons.

As such, the mental health recruitment bill will stack up to £28bn, almost three times as much as 2018’s total recruitment bill.

Mental health specifically has been exacerbated due to the impact of the pandemic and the lack of work-life boundaries which have come about as a result of homeworking.

During this period, an additional 8.7 billion hours were worked during the crisis, putting significant strain on the mental health of UK employees.

Dave Capper, CEO of Westfield Health, warns that businesses are failing to recognise a key risk which threatens business recovery – a talent drain.

Noting the workforce “is on the brink of burnout”, Mr. Capper continued to state that businesses need to act now or risk losing their workforce.

However, this is not the only reason why employees desire moving to a different role.

Four in ten employees (40 per cent) said their reason for moving was to try something new, with over a third (35 per cent) wanting a better work-life balance and a similar number (34 per cent) wanting to protect and prioritise their mental or physical health.

Optimistically, the research shows that employers have the power to prevent four in five (83 per cent) from leaving through offering flexible/remote working options (43 per cent); a pay rise (40 per cent); and better mental health support, including incorporating mental health days (35 per cent).

Dave Capper ultimately stated:

There’s good news here – the vast majority of employees are open to staying with the right levels of flexibility and support. This talent drain isn’t inevitable as long as employers take action now.

By speaking to their team and understanding what flexibility and wellbeing support employees want, businesses will be able not only to retain existing talent but attract new talent to help drive recovery.





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.