More than a third of workers in the UK is considering changing jobs to help them cope with the rise in the cost of living with essential workers particularly interested in moving to new sectors in pursuit of a pay rise.
A new report by jobs board Totaljobs has found that essential workers are twice as likely as other employees to have handed in their notice in recent months and move into a different sector because they have been offered more money.
Overall, more than a third of workers in the UK were considering changing jobs because of rises in the cost of living.
Other key findings were that nearly half (48%) of workers now have only limited disposable income and were living payslip to payslip with 838,113 workers taking out loans to fund basic living expenses.
Just over a third of employers (37%) were concerned that employee quality of life was deteriorating because of rising living costs. However, most organisations (84%) were taking action to support staff in the form of inflation-linked pay rises, internet subsidies and allowing staff to work where they liked.
The figures will add to concerns over the ‘great resignation’ which is said to have been afflicting organisations in recent months.
The root finding of the study was that employees did not perceive their pay as keeping up with the rising cost of living. Nearly half (48%) said they had not had a pay rise in the past year, and the 42% of those who did only reported a rise of 5% or less – less than the current rate of inflation (5.5%). A substantial proportion (30%) of employees stated that their salary did not cover basic living costs.
One fifth, the study found, had resorted to taking a second job to boost their income – and a further 30% were taking on extra shifts at work to earn more money. A third of workers did not expect their pay to increase in the next year, rising to 51% of social care workers, 41% of those working in education and 37% of healthcare professionals. A substantial majority expected their salary to shrink in real terms.
The rising cost of living is driving more than a third (37%) of people to consider changing jobs this year. This level rises to 47% among social care workers.
The research identified that essential workers were twice as likely to have handed in their notice in recent months and move into a different sector because they were offered more money (10% vs 5%). Half (48%) said they would be willing to change sectors completely in pursuit of better pay – the same figure for non-essential workers.
Jon Wilson, CEO of Totaljobs, said key workers had kept the UK running during the worst of the Covid pandemic but “those we stood outside and clapped for every Thursday continue to be among the worst paid in our society.
“This research illustrates that everyone is feeling the pinch of the rising cost of living – yet it is disproportionately felt by our key workers – to the extent that some are looking to move jobs for one that provides them with more financial security.”
Total Jobs highlighted that when asked what action they would like to see from employers to help deal with the cost of living, a pay rise in line with inflation came out as the number one ask, with 52% ranking this as a priority. This was followed by paid overtime (36%), subsidies for energy bills when working from home (27%), a one-time bonus (22%), and internet subsidies if working from home (19%).
Wilson added: “It’s clear that the cost of living is having an impact on businesses and their staff. We’d encourage employers to acknowledge the situation we’re in and have open conversations with their staff about financial wellbeing and remuneration.”
“Now is the time to consider more holistic job offers that cater to the individual needs of candidates. Such offers will be vital in retaining and attracting talent for the foreseeable future.”