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Revealed: The real reason why UK workers quit their jobs

by LLB Reporter
4th Apr 17 7:43 am

New study shows

UK businesses are dealing with an increase in staff turnover as over a third (36 per cent) of HR directors have seen the number of leavers rise over the past three years, according to new research by Robert Half UK. While businesses recognise the issue and are starting to offer more incentives for staff to stay, there is a discrepancy between the issues companies’ current retention strategies address, and the reasons why employees decide to leave.

The survey found that boredom and frustrations with their current role or company (35 per cent), poor work-life balance (31 per cent) and stagnant career prospects (30 per cent) are the key reasons why employees choose to move on according to HR directors. Boredom has been identified as a main reason for staff turnover across companies of all sizes but employees in large businesses are particularly affected by this, with almost half (42 per cent) naming it the key reason for staff turnover, compared to 27 per cent in small companies and 35 per cent in medium-sized ones.

Breakdown of respondents that listed boredom as a key reason for staff turnover


Company size Percentage
Total respondents 35 per cent
Large businesses 42 per cent
Medium businesses 35 per cent
Small businesses 27 per cent


Source: Robert Half UK

In response, companies are employing several different retention methods to reduce employee turnover including flexible working arrangements (63 per cent) and competitive salary packages (45 per cent). Other common retention strategies include career development and training (33 per cent), internal promotions (30 per cent) and counteroffers (14 per cent). However, most fail to directly tackle the issue of workplace-related boredom, which leaves the underlying driver of employee attrition unaddressed. Giving employees meaningful and worthwhile work has been shown to make them 3.2 times more likely to be happy at work and, consequently, less likely to leave.

“UK businesses are beginning to realise that they need to prioritise the implementation of effective retention strategies as their current efforts have been unsuccessful in addressing the underlying causes of voluntary staff turnover. At a time where the labour market is very competitive and highly-skilled employees are in short supply, organisations need to ensure they look after their staff. With the productivity agenda a high priority for business leaders, considering employee happiness and well-being will promote loyalty”, commented Phil Sheridan, senior managing director at Robert Half UK.

“At the end of the day, employees are a company’s most important resource, regardless of its size or sector. Losing staff because they feel unhappy and unmotivated can be avoided if businesses develop a strategy which incorporates staff wellbeing initiatives alongside career planning and, above all, nurtures a positive company culture.”

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