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9.4 million workers to resign

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Mass exodus of workers expected by June

“The Great Resignation” continues to make the news with new research from talent solutions agency Robert Half finding that 32% of employees will search for a new role in the first six months of the year.

According to new research from the specialist talent solutions nearly a third (32%) of employees will search for a new role between January and June this year – the equivalent to 9.4 million workers across the UK.

Analysis of Robert Half’s internal data revealed that job applications surged in Q1 for the past five yearsand this year looks to be no different. According to findings, nearly a quarter of candidates (23%) will begin their new job search in the next three months – with trend data suggesting that the uptick usually begins in the third week of January.

The research found that around two fifths (42%) of workers seeking new employment are looking for a higher salary, but money is not the only factor they’re considering. In order to retain staff employers should focus on career progression opportunities and benefits which are triggers for 25% and 21% of jobseekers respectively.

Aquent, the innovative recruitment agency for creative, digital and marketing roles have announced the results of its 2021 Talent Insights Report and the key takeaway from the report echoes that of Robert Half’s research: There is going to be a significant impact on the post-pandemic supposed “Great Resignation” and the driving factors are access to flexible working and increased salaries.

Following the rise of hybrid working throughout the pandemic, 24% of those looking for a new role are seeking more flexibility in their working arrangements on a permanent basis. The findings reiterate what we already know that is that flexible working is an essential offering if employers want to attract and retain their talent.

But it must be stated that dissatisfaction with remuneration, opportunities and working arrangements are not the only push factors for employees, the study found. The pandemic had 23% of job-seekers saying lockdown gave them time to re-evaluate priorities, with more than one in five (22%) saying they want to change career path or move into an entirely different field. Aquent’s findings also reflect this and worryingly, job dissatisfaction increased to almost 33% in 2020 and 2021, compared to 22% in 2019. This unhappiness was most likely influenced by poor leadership and layoffs. While trying to find a new work-life balance in the middle of a global pandemic, talent was frequently expected to maintain the same level of production, if not more, especially for middle-management roles (VP, Director, Manager). Talent in this category are facing increased pressure from above and below, with 54% to 59% of middle-management employees considering leaving their role in the next three to six months.

It remains a candidates’ market with the industry seeing a dramatic shift in what talent expects from their employers. Over the past few years, the job market has seen an unprecedented shift towards employees expecting more from their employers, and they are showing more confidence to leave if they don’t get it.  Although the number of people actively looking for a new role in 2021 has fallen by 10% compared to a year ago, talent are clearly still in the driver’s seat as millions of job openings remain vacant.

Aquent’s survey revealed that candidates are now choosing flexible working arrangements almost as much as higher compensation (28%). Further, career advancement slipped from a high of 25% last year to 17%, indicating changing priorities post-pandemic.

Matt Weston, UK Managing Director at Robert Half, commented on the findings: “While we always experience a sharp increase in job applications at the start of each year, we are anticipating unprecedented levels of UK workers looking for a new job this year. Despite an uptick in the number of employees looking for a new role, demand from employers will still outstrip supply – placing the cards firmly in the hands of candidates.”

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