Half of UK Employees Will Change Jobs in 3 Years—And That’s a Good Thing

UK employees aren’t disloyal, they’re just more confident. Learn more about how the thinking on job turnover is changing.

According to a recent ADP survey, nearly half (47%) of British employees intend to change jobs in the next three years, versus a European average of 34%. Long term, the numbers are equally striking: Only 17% of Britons say they want to spend the rest of their career where they currently work—the lowest number in the entire EU.

Meanwhile Indeed’s own research confirms that many British employees are consistently on the lookout for the job opportunities that fit them best. In our recent Talent Attraction Study we found that 75% of UK respondents are actively looking for or are open to a new job. By contrast, only 15% say they never look at job opportunities.

Both studies are consistent with how we think about our careers now, which in turn has changed the thinking on job turnover. Whereas people may have once stayed in one job or career track for large parts of their working lives, people today and are more likely to explore many opportunities.

By keeping an eye on the labour market, people are able to find work they’re most passionate about—a great thing for employers who are also in search of the best-fit talent.

Here’s a deeper dive into why job change is good news for candidates and companies alike:

Employee churn is a sign of economic growth

Churn or job turnover rates tend to follow a procyclical pattern, meaning that they increase in times of economic growth and decline during recessionary periods.

When the economy is healthy and opportunities are out there, employees are more likely to switch jobs or careers. After all, a lower unemployment rate lowers the risks involved with job hopping and increases fluidity in the labour market. What looks like “disloyalty” from one angle may simply be a measure of greater confidence in the economy. And in fact, the UK has had stronger and more consistent economic growth than many European neighbours.

For instance, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reports that the number of unemployed persons per vacancy in the UK now stands at 2.4—the lowest figure since April 2008. Not only that, but the unemployment rate has fallen to 5.3%—the lowest since the recession began in 2008. Meanwhile, employment rate figures released in November show that 73.7% of people aged 16-64 are in work—the highest rate seen since records began in 1971.

Candidates in the UK are also very relaxed about competition: According to ADP, 69% of employees report that they do not view foreign talent entering the local job market as a threat. That’s another good sign that UK workers feel confident about their career prospects. In fact, the combination of lower unemployment and the high number of jobs added to the economy indicate that a full economic recovery could be on the horizon.

To attract and retain great people, employers need to understand what motivates them

The improved economy puts candidates in the driver’s seat and they aren’t passively waiting for jobs to come to them. The very best talent demands more for themselves and this is ushering a new way of approaching recruitment. Firms now know that everyone is an active job seeker; it compels employers to find out what motivates their best players and helps them draw in high-performing team members.

The top three things that candidates cite as reasons they would accept an offer are good pay and compensation, good location and flexible hours. These are the factors employers should pay attention to as they seek to attract and retain ambitious, confident candidates—but these elements are the just basic requirements for top-shelf talent. Employers will need a deeper understanding of the candidates they’re after: Are they motivated by meaningful work? Company culture? Career advancements? These factors can tip the scales once needs around pay, location and flexibility are met.

For more information about job seeker behaviour and how to recruit and retain the best talent, download our Talent Attraction Study.

Talent Attraction Study: What Matters to the Modern Candidate.