Nearly half of UK workforce plan to change jobs this year

Employers have been urged to review their staff retention programmes to ensure that their best employees don’t jump ship as the economy begins to pick up.

The call came after a pan-European survey of more than 7,500 workers, by consultancy Aon Consulting, revealed than nearly half (47%) of the 1,000 UK respondents were planning on looking for a new job before the end of the year.

The Irish were the only workforce more likely to want to swap jobs (49.4%) than the British. Appetite for job hunting was significantly less across the rest of Europe, with Norwegian workers closest behind the UK at 36.4% with the desire to change employer. Job satisfaction appears to be highest in the Netherlands and Belgium, with relatively low numbers (17.4% and 17.5% respectively) reporting they would start job-hunting this year.

The UK research also revealed that men (48%) are marginally more likely than women (47%) to look for a new job; 18-24 year olds are most likely to seek a move (53%); while older generations are happier to sit tight.

The survey also highlighted some marked differences between sectors, with more than half (54%) of those working in engineering expecting to actively start looking for a new job while just 21% of those working in logistics indicated that they were likely to pursue new opportunities by the end of the year.

Peter Abelskamp, executive director of health and benefits for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Aon Consulting, said the austerity measures taken by employers to counter the recession have created discontent among employees, meaning the risk of of losing key personnel was “definitely very real”.

“This could seriously undermine an organisation’s competitive position once the recovery takes hold,” he said. “Without doubt, if you consider an employee to be valuable, the chances are that your competitors will too. Now is an ideal time to rally the troops and incentivise talented personnel by taking a strategic look at their overall remuneration package. Possibilities include the introduction or redesign of flexible benefits packages which allow employees to tailor their benefits to their own personal needs, or by extending long term incentive plans to wider groups of employees, including those with the most attractive skills.”

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