Post-pandemic surge | £17bn cost as HUGE number of employees look to jump ship

£17bn cost as HUGE number of employees look to jump ship

New research from Personio shows that businesses in UK and Ireland could be set to be hit with the sharp end of a £16.9bn talent exodus with almost four in ten employees looking to change roles.

It doesn’t appear that HR or the business are prepared for this – with only 26% of employers saying talent retention is a priority for their organisation.

The research – which surveyed 500 HR decision makers as well as over 2000 workers – found that this lack of planning in the area of staff retention came despite 45% of employers worrying about staff leaving.

What’s causing the potential exodus?

According to research, both HR and employees understand that pay freezes and cuts as well as worsening work-life balance are key factors in driving staff to quit.

However, it appears there is a disconnect between how much HR thinks a toxic work culture impacts staff and how much it actually does.

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Almost twice as many employees than HR decision makers consider toxic workplace culture to be a significant push factor (12% HR decision makers vs 21% employees).

Lack of career progression opportunities and lack of appreciation for the work being completed is also a major push factor.


Indicative of a broader disconnect that could be contributing to a lack of loyalty amongst employees, the research also finds that employers believe they have supported teams better than employees suggest they have.

HR decision makers are over twice as likely as employees to rate their business’s support for career development as ‘good’ and more likely to see its support for work/life in a positive light.  

Ross Seychell, Chief People Officer at Personio, said that employers could better mitigate against this potential exodus by looking at including people in decision-making.

He said: “At a time when employees are ready to walk, any change that’s poorly managed could risk setting off a raft of resignations.

“At this decisive moment, it’s critical that employers involve their employees in what the future of work in their company should look like in order to avoid yet more disconnect and find a way forward that works for the whole business and its people.”

Economic recovery will spark this move

However, Seychell also said that, in part, this predicted exodus of staff was likely as the economy recovers.

He added: “It’s not surprising that people are looking to move roles as the economy improves, as many people have stayed put and put job changes on hold while the labour market was more uncertain.

“However, now, as the economy recovers and people have more confidence in the job market, not only will people have more opportunity and confidence to leave their jobs for pastures new, but burnout and frustration with lack of employer support during the pandemic may push them out the door.

“As employers plan their return to the office, they should make sure to handle this process with care and consideration.”

Top 10 reasons why employees are looking for another job over the next 12 months:

  • Lack of career progression opportunities - 29%

  • Not enough appreciation of the work I do - 29%

  • Poor management - 25%

  • Pay freeze/cut - 23%

  • Boredom at work - 23%

  • Poor work/life balance - 22%

  • Toxic workplace culture - 18%

  • Lack of learning or development opportunities - 17%

  • I want to move to a new industry - 17%

  • No bonus - 15%

Top 10 factors that HR decision makers think could cause employees to leave the company in the next six months:

  • Pay freeze/cut - 28%

  • Worsening work/life balance - 20%

  • Being furloughed - 18%

  • Being asked to go back to the office full time once restrictions have lifted - 18%

  • Reduction of benefits could cause employees to leave - 18%

  • A cut back of career opportunities - 17%

  • Colleagues being furloughed / made redundant - 17%

  • Wanting to move to a different industry - 17%

  • No bonus - 16%

  • Poor management - 15%

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