More than 6.5 million Brits plan to quit their jobs this year, CIPD says

Experts say firms need to take a ‘holistic approach’ to creating better roles and not focus exclusively on pay and benefits

Credit: Filadendron/Getty Images

A fifth of the working population could resign in the next year, research from the CIPD has found, with better pay and benefits the most common motivator behind a job move. 

This year’s CIPD Good Work Index, which polled more than 6,000 workers, found 20 per cent believed they would likely quit their current role in the next 12 months: an increase from 16 per cent in 2021.

Extrapolated across the UK’s working population, this means just over 6.5 million people could be looking to change in the coming year.

The grass isn’t always greener for employees switching roles

Real pay continues to fall despite labour market tightening

Three strategies to retain top talent

Among those considering quitting their job, more than a third (35 per cent) said they were looking to move for better pay and benefits: the most common reason cited.

More than a quarter (27 per cent) said they wanted to increase their job satisfaction; 24 per cent were looking for better work-life balance; and 23 per cent wanted to do a different type of work.

The research also found a difference in priorities between high and low earners. Just two in five (39 per cent) of those earning £20,000 a year or less said their job offered good skills development opportunities, compared to 72 per cent of those earning £60,000 a year or more.

Get more HR and employment law news like this delivered straight to your inbox every day – sign up to People Management’s PM Daily newsletter

In addition, only a quarter (25 per cent) of lower earners said their job offered good career advancement prospects, compared with 51 per cent of higher earners.

Melanie Green, research adviser for the CIPD, said that too often employers focused on improving roles that already had a higher job quality, and that pay alone was often seen as the only tool firms could use to retain people. “All jobs have the potential to be better and we should aspire to make good work a reality for everyone in the workforce,” said Green.

“This means going beyond pay to think about how people’s roles are designed; how flexible their role can be – in location or hours; supporting good health and wellbeing; and investing in employee development so they have the means to progress in their career,” she said.

Green also warned that the pandemic had “exacerbated existing inequalities”, but said that by taking a holistic approach to making work good, and improving people management practices, managers and employers could “make a real difference to people’s working lives”.

Kate Palmer, HR advice and consultancy director at Peninsula, agreed that employers needed to reevaluate their people strategy to improve motivation and satisfaction. This could be done through providing training and development opportunities and clear career pathways.

“Where employees can clearly see that there is a plan for their long-term professional success, they will be less likely to jump ship for short-term financial gain,” Palmer said, warning that employers “unable to keep up with employees’ expectations may experience a reduction in motivation and higher turnover”.

The CIPD survey also asked workers why they had left their previous employer, finding that more than a quarter (27 per cent) cited better pay and benefits. A fifth (21 per cent) said dissatisfaction with the leadership or senior management was a reason they left their last role, and 20 per cent said better work-life balance.

More than half (58 per cent) of workers who moved jobs in the last 12 months said their new job was more fulfilling than their last; 52 per cent reported better pay; and 48 per cent reported better work-life balance in their new role.