UK workforce embraces ‘Great Resignation’ in record numbers

The post-pandemic 'Great Resignation' looks to be ‘no flash in the pan’

The post-pandemic ‘Great Resignation’ that rocked the job market is far from over, as a groundbreaking survey conducted by leading recruiter PageGroup exposes a seismic shift in workplace culture.

The study, titled Talent Trends, gathered insights from nearly 70,000 working adults worldwide and uncovered a staggering 90% of global respondents and 86% of UK respondents who are currently open to new job opportunities.

Evolving attitudes

This first-of-its-kind study, conducted by the parent company of Michael Page, sheds light on the evolving attitudes and motivations of skilled, white-collar professionals. Among the 2,145 UK respondents, a staggering 50% identified themselves as active job seekers, actively looking for a new role or planning to do so within the next six months. An additional 36% remained on the fence, considering a change but awaiting better economic conditions or the right opportunity.

Employers face a daunting challenge as the study reveals that only 1 in 10 employees are confident they will stay in their current positions this year. Surprisingly, even newly hired employees are equally open to new opportunities, with over a third of those who joined in 2022 considered ‘active job seekers’.

Global talent trends

Far from the Great Resignation being a temporary phenomenon, this ‘Invisible Revolution’ is a tectonic shift poised to create long-lasting tremors in the global labour market. The Talent Trends study brought to light several noteworthy findings:

  1. The ‘Great Resignation’ continues unabated, with 2022 experiencing nearly three times the resignation rate of 2021 (44% versus 15%), debunking claims that the worst is over.
  2. Only 26% of UK workers hold full-time office roles, as fully remote (19%) and hybrid working models (55%) have become the new normal. This proliferation of hybrid working jobs enables individuals to explore new opportunities while performing their duties from the comfort of their homes, making it easier for recruiters to reach them.
  3. Despite the UK’s worsening economic outlook, 53% of workers exhibit increased openness to new opportunities during poor economic performance. This correlation is even more pronounced in Europe (58%) and globally (70%).
  4. While two-thirds (67%) of UK staff express satisfaction with their current workloads and nearly six in ten (59%) are content with their salaries, over half (52%) still maintain an eye on their next move.
  5. Salary remains the top priority for job seekers (23%), with 32% of UK respondents revealing they have not received a pay raise in two years.
  6. Work-life balance and mental health take precedence over career success for 76% of UK professionals, a higher percentage than in Europe (73%) and globally (67%). Additionally, 57% in the UK would decline a promotion if it negatively impacted their well-being.

Understanding a changing landscape

Reflecting on the survey’s findings, Doug Rode, Managing Director UK & Ireland at Michael Page, emphasised the need for employers to understand the changing landscape: “The workforce’s emotional connection to the world of work has fundamentally shifted after the disruption caused by the pandemic. Many professionals are adopting a more ‘transactional’ view of their jobs, putting their own value first.”

PageGroup’s CEO, Nicholas Kirk, echoed these sentiments: “The trends in the UK mirror the sentiment of the global talent market – every region has seen a transformative change across all age groups, markets, and industries.

“It is clear there has been a universal reset of people’s relationships with their jobs. Work-life balance, a competitive salary, and strong career progression prospects have become non-negotiable, and professionals are willing to leave their current roles to secure these elsewhere.

“These are not fleeting trends or reactionary responses to a period of turbulence. Rather, they are reshaping the workplace in a way that will subtly yet fundamentally change the way businesses attract and retain their talent.”

As the ‘Great Resignation’ continues to reshape the employment landscape, employers and employees must navigate this invisible revolution that has taken hold, forever altering the dynamics of the labour market.

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