UK labour turnover rates and costs in 2008

One in 10 UK employees resigned from their job in 2008, according to the median labour turnover rate in recent research by Personnel Today‘s sister publication IRS Employment Review.

The survey of 213 employers – covering a combined workforce of more than 950,000 people – also showed that the average cost of labour turnover was £739 per head last year.

The median resignation rate for UK employees in 2008 was 10%, while the average was 13.5%. Both figures were lower than those recorded for 2007, when the median rate was 13.8%, and the average stood at 17.8%.

Resignation rates were found to be higher among private sector services employers than those in manufacturing and production organisations.

Details on staff turnover rates according to occupation were drawn from research by Personnel Today‘s sister organisation, salary survey specialist Celre. The information on nine occupational groups found that resignation rates ranged from a high of 6.9% among IT professionals to a low of 4.4% among sales staff.

The research encountered difficulties when attempting to measure the financial impact of staff leaving employers, with just 11% of the respondents being able to supply such information. Collectively, however, labour turnover was found to have cost these employers almost £5.5m in 2008. That equated to a median cost of £371 per employee, and an average cost per head of £739.

Of the respondents that were able to supply such details, 54% only counted the recruitment costs involved in finding staff to replace those that leave. The costs of employing temporary staff were calculated by 42% of employers, while 33% took the costs of paying overtime into consideration.

While there were considerable regional variations in labour turnover rates across the country, they didn’t follow any discernible pattern.

The data was weighted towards voluntary resignations, as details of total labour turnover was only obtained from employers that were unable to supply resignation rates.

The huge increase in redundancies made since 2008 in the wake of the recession will have a significant impact on the total labour turnover rate – which covers all reasons for staff leaving – for 2009, even though the rates of voluntary redundancy are likely to have fallen.

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