This year, nearly half of UK workers will be looking for a new job, showing a downward trend over the last three years. However, with half the workforce job-seeking and simultaneously wanting job security, there’s a conflicting message. Why would people leave their jobs to seek security? People are telling us they’re leaving jobs because they don’t trust their leaders and that they’re too stressed at work and need a better a worklife balance.
Despite a decade or more of research looking at the economic benefits of happiness, it’s frustrating that all too often, wellbeing at work focuses on reducing stress not increasing happiness. Yet we know that humans want to be engaged in meaningful relationships, feel valued and useful. And that in this environment people are both happier and more productive.
Increasing happiness has anything from a 12% to 14% (1) effect on productivity. Some estimate that for every £1 that an organisation invests in mental wellbeing support, they can expect £9 return on investment (2). If organisations are to attract and retain talent, then leaders need to respond to this area of employee experience and increase the happiness of their people
In an age of job uncertainty, growing competition and rising workplace stress and anxiety, one in three workers report being unhappy at work which with 45% of workers looking to move jobs in 2019. The top three reasons that people are changing jobs is because they want better pay (25%), don’t feel valued (16%) and have work-related stress (16%). But paying your people more isn’t the best way to retain valuable team members. In fact, instead workers stay in jobs where there is a good work-life balance (37%) and a good team (34%).
Despite unemployment being at 4.1%, an all-time low since 1971, the picture is uncertain for the estimated 1.38 million unemployed people. Total vacancies being advertised for September sits at 1,143,386, and full-time vacancies are down 7% YOY. Perhaps due to insecurity over Brexit, this shows a real reluctance from employers to commit to hiring. There is some good news, with competition for roles down to 0.38, marking the lowest job competition levels for jobs since 2011*
Despite craving job security (44%) workers are prepared to cause short-term disruption for long-term security and nearly half of all respondents looking for a new job this year. Sometimes hailed as the answer to flexible working and ‘worker empowerment’ the gig economy has earned a reputation as the foregone conclusion of the future of work. Bucking this trend, this research shows that people want to work with good teams and good people and that they want their talents harnessed and to feel valued.
With no clarity about what the UK workforce can expect from the Brexit negotiations it’s not a surprise that people’s attitudes remain negative about what impact leaving Europe might have on their job security. In last year’s report 18-24 year olds reported particularly high levels of anxiety about the impact of Brexit on their job security. This insecurity may well still be fuelling their job search as 16% of this age group told us that leaving the EU makes them more likely to look for a new job. There is some positivity about the effect of leaving the EU on job security and men are 25% more likely to see the bright side!