Staff loyalty to an employer is practically zero in the current highly competitive recruitment market, a study has indicated.
Research carried out by personnel management training specialist Malpas, and launched this week at the CIPD conference in Harrogate, indicates that staff "want it all" and will move quickly if given a better offer.
"Employers think people are fairly loyal but they are not loyal at all," said Margaret Malpas, director of Malpas HR Services.
The study of about 200 senior HR managers and staff shows that employees said they will move for better pay, more flexible hours or better learning opportunities. And 80 per cent of employees feel they are working beyond the bounds of their employment contract, but only just over half of employers think this is the case.
"We expected more of a balance – people saying, ‘I would like to work part-time and I acknowledge that I might not be able to progress as fast’," said Malpas. In practice, employees "want it all’", she said.
Lack of loyalty is already evident in many retail parks, where staff will switch employers as soon as word gets around that pay or benefits at a certain shop have improved, she said.
This means policies of minimum staffing levels will have to be reversed after a decade of downsizing. This is because with high levels of staff turnover, firms would struggle to maintain services while they are busy hiring new staff and training them.
"Employers cut companies to the bone – particularly in HR where it was seen as a support, add-on function," said Malpas. "People did not make plans for training or attrition levels.
"Succession planning is now a critical issue and over-staffing may need to become the norm," she added.
By Philip Whiteley