Quarter of workers look to change jobs

Thursday 31 October 2013

The UK’s employment market is continuing to pick up steam, figures show, as a new study from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has found that more and more employees are testing the waters and looking for new job opportunities.

According to the latest Employee Outlook, staff are beginning to move once again as the job market shows signs of acceleration. In fact, nearly a quarter of all the employees surveyed for the study said that they were looking for another position, up from 21 per cent recorded in spring of this year. Interestingly, there was barely any difference between the public and private sector on this measure, as 24 per cent of private and voluntary sector staff and 23 per cent of public sector workers said they were looking for a change of job.

Fresh vacancies are likely to appear in the coming months, as fewer organisations plan to freeze their hiring - just a quarter of employees reported that their organisation had frozen recruitment, and the number of staff saying their organisation is unaffected by the economic downturn is on the rise. As demand rises and businesses look to acquire talent to help them meet fresh demand, it is likely that new assignments for contractors will be among the results - but as more staff leave their roles and create gaps in the workforce, it could be that demand for flexible workers to fill in on an interim basis continues to perform strongly.

The intention to change jobs seems to rise as job satisfaction falls, the report says. Overall, it found that net job satisfaction is static from the spring survey, but both represent a lower level than recorded in previous quarters. Perhaps unsurprisingly, staff in the voluntary sector are the most satisfied, but the private sector is in the midst of a steady decline to which managers need to pay attention.

“Talent is on the move again, signalling a decline in fear around job security as the impact of the economic downturn begins to lessen,” says Clair McCartney, research adviser at CIPD.

“However, this should also signal a warning to employers to up their game when it comes to retaining key talent – if they aren’t monitoring their employees’ progression and providing opportunities to talk about career development, they may well risk losing some of their most talented workers, who might well vote with their feet and take advantage of a somewhat improved labour market outlook.”

Interestingly, other factors affecting the decision to switch jobs included disengagement, which affected more than seven out of ten staff compared to just nine per cent who reported they were engaged. In addition, staff facing pressure every day were far more likely to be pursuing alternative options - 45 per cent of those under pressure were looking elsewhere, compared to under a fifth of those who said they were never in this position. As the UK’s workforce become more and more disillusioned with their current roles, it could be that many choose to escape the nine-to-five working pattern and embrace working for themselves.

By Victoria McDonnell

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