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Employers fear 4.5m workers could be on the move this year

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UK businesses are facing increasing staff turnover, according to new research by Robert Half UK. In fact, one in seven (14%), or roughly 4.5 million employees2, are likely to seek a new job, highlighting the opportunities available to candidates and the increasing war for talent amongst UK businesses.

Company Profile

Robert Half

  • Firms report 14% voluntary employee turnover
  • 61% of employers have seen an increase in staff churn in the last three years
  • Many businesses ignoring basic staff retention initiatives

UK businesses are facing increasing staff turnover, according to new research by Robert Half UK. In fact, one in seven (14%), or roughly 4.5 million employees2, are likely to seek a new job, highlighting the opportunities available to candidates and the increasing war for talent amongst UK businesses.

Employers have registered this shift with almost three in five (61%) reporting an increase in voluntary employee turnover in the last three years. The research also showed that over half (51%) expect employee turnover to increase in the next three years. 

Yet many businesses still fail to employ basic retention initiatives. Only half (47%) of organisations run training and development programmes to help build employees’ skills and support career development, while most don’t have any programmes in place to support employee wellbeing or reward performance. Organisations are also missing out on valuable insight from their departing employees, with more than four in five (83%) failing to undertake exit interviews.

Employee retention initiatives*

% of UK businesses

Training and professional development programmes

47%

Employee wellness programmes

42%

Employee appreciation initiatives

39%

Regular performance reviews/feedback

38%

Regular salary reviews

36%

Flexible and/or remote working opportunities

36%

Clear communication of company purpose/goals

32%

Employee engagement initiatives

30%

Exit interviews

17%

*Multiple responses permitted.

“Employee turnover has significant consequences on workplace productivity and growth,” said Matt Weston, Managing Director at Robert Half UK. “This means retention strategies are now business critical. With a hyper competitive job market, organisations must put staff first by constantly considering workplace happiness and well-being.”

“Employees are a company’s most important resource, regardless of its size or sector. Failing to keep them happy and motivated has a direct impact on retention and business performance. Businesses need to develop a strategy that incorporates staff wellbeing initiatives alongside career pathing whilst creating a positive company culture and clear sense of purpose.”


Research methodology 

1The study was developed by Robert Half and conducted in December 2017 – January 2018 by an independent research firm among 500 business leaders across the UK, with the data segmented by business type, size, and location. This survey is part of an international study on hiring trends and career ambitions in the modern workplace. 

2 Based on workforce 32.35 million people in work from March ONS labour market data

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