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‘The Great Resignation’: almost one in four UK workers planning job change

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Almost a quarter of workers are actively planning to change employers in the next few months, a report has claimed, as part of a “great resignation” prompted by a high number of vacancies and burnout caused by the pandemic.

A survey of 6,000 workers by the recruitment firm Randstad UK found that 69% of them were feeling confident about moving to a new role in the next few months, with 24% planning a change within three to six months.

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The company said it would normally expect up to 11% of workers to move jobs every year.

It has warned that such a move will have considerable cost implications for employers – as much as £25,000 for each worker – and said it has been advising clients to start looking at whether they needed to improve pay and other conditions to help them retain their best staff.

Victoria Short, CEO at Randstad UK, said some of those looking for new jobs were workers who during the pandemic had stayed in roles they were unhappy with.

She said: “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.”

The research found that only 16% of workers described themselves as worried about trying to get a new job.

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Workers currently employed in construction, tech and logistics were all confident they would find new opportunities, with workers in manufacturing being the most confident.

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Randstad warned the mass resignations will come at considerable cost to the UK’s private sector. Research carried out by Oxford Economics found that it takes recently hired professional workers 28 weeks to reach optimum productivity – which has an attached cost of £25,200 per employee, it said.

Short added: “The Great Resignation is going to be tricky for those industries that can move workers around. It is going to be very difficult indeed for industries where employees are trying to get out altogether.

A shortage of workers in some industries has led companies to offer signing on bonuses of up to £10,000 to attract recruits, although some surveys have suggested many do not plan to increase wages.

The latest Lloyds Bank Business Barometer, published on Monday, found that 48% of businesses said it had become easier to hire people with the right skills or experience since the end of the furlough scheme.

When asked about wage growth, 43% of firms said they were expecting a 2% increase in average pay over the next 12 months, while 25% anticipated a 3% rise.

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Overall, Lloyds said business confidence in October was at its second highest level since March 2020, and that staff shortages suffered in some sectors may be starting to ease.

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Hann-Ju Ho, a senior commercial banking economist at Lloyds Bank, said businesses are feeling relatively buoyant and overall business confidence is above the long-term average.

“With 60% of firms saying that they expect to bring all their furloughed staff back to work, and a further 30% intending to bring back more than half, it should bode well for the labour market as we head into the winter.”