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UK Employers’ risk losing half of employees to better offers and career changes, WTW survey finds

March 31, 2022

Pay, job security and flexible working arrangements ranked as top factors for attracting and retaining talent
Health and Benefits|Total Rewards|Future of Work
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LONDON, March 31, 2022 — As the tight UK labour market sees employment vacancies hit a twenty-year high, over half (54%) of employees are considering leaving their current role, according to WTW’s latest Employee Attraction & Retention research. In total,18% of UK employees surveyed said they were actively looking for a new employer and 15% were looking for a change in career, while 21% said whilst they were not actively searching, they are open to offers.

Employees continue to prioritise pay and job security as the most important factors in attracting and retaining them.

More than half of UK respondents (58%) cited pay as a top reason they would look for a new job. Two in five (43%) would leave for a pay increase of 5% or less. One in five employees (22%) would even move to a new job for the same pay.

But a third (33%) also indicated that flexible working arrangements were their third highest priority if they were to move to a new job. And those looking at job opportunities are also likely to be suffering from burnout or feel unable to voice their opinions.

Employers must look to the strength of their overall packages in relation to the needs of their staff.”

Alasdair Wood
Work & Rewards Leader, GB & Ireland, WTW

“Pay is always an important factor for employees, but more and more we’re seeing job security and flexibility cited as key concerns for workers in their quest for career satisfaction,” said Alasdair Wood, Work & Rewards Leader, GB & Ireland, WTW. “Employers must look to the strength of their overall packages in relation to the needs of their staff. In many cases, this means enhancing health and retirement benefits, offering flexibility and focusing on staff wellbeing.”

The importance of flexible working arrangements has come to the fore due to a change in work patterns, fueled by the pandemic. As companies rev up plans to bring their workforce back to the office, the survey found that the majority of employees (59%) want to work remotely, either most of the time (34%) or in a hybrid arrangement that splits their time (25%). Only 41% would rather work onsite.

However, a third of workers (33%) do not feel aligned with their employers’ arrangements around flexible work. The survey found that when preferences on work arrangements are not aligned, there is significant risk to retention, lower engagement and performance.

Women, younger people, and low-income workers are more likely to want different, more remote working arrangements. Yet, according to the survey, younger people are also most concerned that remote working will have a negative impact on their career development, with many missing the social interaction at work due to remote working.

Advantages and disadvantages for remote work both show strongly in the data. 71% of workers agree that working remotely has helped them achieve a better work-life balance and 62% agree that their working resources meet their needs for remote working. However, half of employees feel disconnected from their team while working from home and 39% fear that remote working will have a negative impact on career development.

“The findings suggest that employees continue to job hunt at the same pace as last year and that the labour exodus is not yet over,” said Wood. “There’s a pressure for employers to find ways to better meet their workers’ needs, particularly on issues such as wellbeing, engagement, skills development and career structure in order to tip the scales, so that employees choose to stay.”

About the survey

WTW’s 2022 Attraction & Retention research was conducted during December 2021 and January 2022 as part of the wider Global Benefits Attitudes Survey. Respondents include 4,129 U.K. employees from large and midsize private employers, representing a broad range of industries.

About WTW

At WTW (NASDAQ: WTW), we provide data-driven, insight-led solutions in the areas of people, risk and capital. Leveraging the global view and local expertise of our colleagues serving 140 countries and markets, we help organizations sharpen their strategy, enhance organizational resilience, motivate their workforce and maximize performance.
Working shoulder to shoulder with our clients, we uncover opportunities for sustainable success—and provide perspective that moves you.

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