One third of professionals are ‘career cushioning’ and looking for other roles, survey finds

Separate report reveals one in five HR practitioners are also considering leaving their employer within a year

Credit: Fonikum/Digital Vision, Nuthawut Somsuk/iStockphoto/Getty Images

More than a third (37 per cent) of workers are taking steps to look for a new job, survey data has revealed.

The survey of 2,000 professionals by Robert Walters found many people are ‘career cushioning’, which refers to someone setting the groundwork to leave a role because of uneasiness about their current position. 

When asked what they had done in preparation to move, two thirds (66 per cent) said they had monitored the job market and almost half (43 per cent) had updated their CVs, while a third (33 per cent) were actively applying for jobs. 

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The top reasons for preparing to move were: lack of job security (72 per cent); turbulent economic conditions (55 per cent); internal changes within their business (45 per cent); and low job satisfaction (33 per cent).

Ian Moore, managing director of HR consultancy Lodge Court, said while these figures were “troubling”, there were steps businesses could take to mitigate the risk of workers moving on. “Employers need to show their staff that they value their work and commitment and must listen to their concerns, questions and feedback,” said Moore. 

He added that, to get to this stage, employers must first identify warning signs that certain colleagues may be “growing tired of their role”, including “being vague about future plans, reducing their performance and showing decreased motivation.”

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Moore said organisations could help combat this by “checking people can cope with their workload, putting career progression plans in place, and carrying out regular satisfaction and culture surveys”.

“These steps will ensure your employees feel valued and appreciated and have a clear, long-term role in the company,” he continued.

Meanwhile, a separate survey of 163 HR professionals, conducted by Ciphr, suggested that uneasiness in a role also extended to people professionals, as one in five (22 per cent) were considering leaving their organisation in the next year, while 10 per cent were actively jobseeking. 

The top reasons given for this were: a lack of career progression opportunities (42 per cent); a desire for a better work-life balance (39 per cent); and feeling underpaid (31 per cent).

Caryl Thomas, senior HR talent manager at Moxie People, said “a lot of people are experiencing burnout” across HR departments, which could explain the Ciphr findings.

While this could be seen as a worrying trend, Thomas added that it was a “small percentage” and that many people still “see HR as a career for life”. 

However, Karen Dyson, HR recruitment specialist at Resourcing4HR, said all employees should be prepared to move, whether they were looking to change jobs imminently or not. “As an employee, I believe it's crucial to take proactive steps to safeguard your career. This includes staying informed about the job market, updating your CV and LinkedIn profile, and actively networking,” she said.