Almost seven in 10 employees would be willing to change jobs in the next few months, according to a poll by recruitment firm Randstad.
Workers in construction, tech and logistics were most confident of new employment, and in manufacturing almost three-quarters (74%) of respondents said they would be happy to move.
HR professionals were among the least confident about moving to a new role, but the most likely to rate salary as their top priority when considering a move.
Randstad reported that 86% of HR workers said salary was their most important factor in moving to a new job.
Call centre workers were the least likely to favour a move, with 23% worried about trying to secure a new job. That said, 46% of call centre workers said they planned on leaving the industry within the next three to six months.
While construction workers were confident they could find new roles in the current market, 86% said they had no plans to leave the industry.
Randstad UK’s chief executive Victoria Short said this was evidence of the “great resignation” hitting the UK as workers that were afraid to move jobs during the pandemic find the courage to look for jobs.
She said: “A lot of people who wanted to quit just hadn’t and they led to a deluge of resignations. Another factor is burnout. Some teams have been running too hot for too long.
“The pandemic has changed how some people think about life, work, and what they want out of both. It’s made people step back and rethink their lives. Covid has reminded them that life is too short – and the number of vacancies means that not only do they want to change one of the key aspects of their life – their jobs – they can.”
Short added that many employees were rethinking their whole careers as ties to their employers became weaker thanks to remote working.
“Working from home means you are no longer sitting next to a friend or that you have a particularly good commute.
“Suddenly those factors, which are surprisingly powerful, are negated; working from home makes it matter less who you work for. Combined, that is making the UK jobs market more fluid than ever.”
Adrian Smith, senior director for operations, said this fluidity could become “very expensive for UK plc”.
“By way of example, there are 275,000 accountants in the UK. If, in the next few months, even a sixth of them choose to act on their new found belief in their career prospects and get a new job with a different employer – for better pay or conditions – that would cost firms more than a billion pounds in lost productivity alone.”
Employers would need to “foster a sense of belonging” if they wanted to retain staff in the current market, Short advised.
“Employers can help retain staff by making sure that they feel valued by their manager, that they foster a sense of belonging and ensure people have a sense of advancement within the organisation. Research demonstrates that employees value these much higher than employers realise.”
She also recommended that organisations listen to employees’ demands regarding working from home and adopt a flexible attitude to in-office working, as well as to create a “sense of newness… no one wants to go back to the old normal”.