‘Large numbers would leave jobs if they don’t get flexible working’

A new survey shows suggestions that people are very willing to move jobs in the new year as experts warn that remote working is making retention harder.

Folder with label saying 'salaries'


Eighty-four per cent of UK professionals are considering a career move in the next six to 12 months, with 71% saying they would consider leaving an employer if they didn’t provide their preferred flexible working options, according to Morgan McKinley’s 2022 Salary Guide.

The Guide is based on a survey of 4,134 professionals and key hiring decision makers from 62 companies across the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Canada, Japan and Mainland China.

It found 42% of UK professionals don’t know what their employer is doing to try and retain them. Meanwhile, half have declined a job offer because the hiring process was too long.

David Leithead, Chief Operations Officer of Morgan McKinley UK, said remote working may be loosening the loyalty bonds between employer and employee, stating: “A dangerous factor in the Great Resignation is that it fuels itself. Change breeds change; attrition in one organisation causes it to hire from another. The biggest thing fuelling this is the breaking of bonds between employers and their employees that happens when the in-person, in-office interactions and communications are at a low ebb. Some employers don’t like to admit it, but video interactions are simply not the same from a relationship and retention point of view.”

“The question is whether it will slow down or whether the pandemic has caused a more seismic shift, bringing the concept of gig employment firmly into the white collar professional world.”

He added that salaries did not seem to have been affected by more remote working due to it being a jobseekers’ market.

He stated: “Across the board of professional job categories, technical skills are in demand as companies face more market, organisational, and regulatory complexity. Overall the pandemic has accentuated the value of the technical specialist and there is a sense of the continued devaluation of the generalist. The high demand isn’t matched with the availability of skills, so organisations need to plan ahead to know how and when they can compromise, and when they need to activate a plan B to look at alternative solutions.”

Salary rises

Meanwhile, a survey from recruitment experts Robert Walters, based on over 100,000 jobs posted over the last 12 months, finds evidence of rising salaries amid demand for workers in professional services. Its 2022 UK Salary Guide finds professional services firms are planning to increase their budget for pay rises of 10-15% this year – the largest increase seen since 2008 and almost three times the inflation rate.

Whilst the biggest pay rises will be reserved for new starters – at least 5% of the increase in payroll budgets will be reserved for existing employees in 2022, says Robert Walters. These pay rises are expected to be for workers across all seniority levels – from entry-level workers and temporary staff right through to management level and executives.

Almost half of companies (43%) from the Robert Walters survey said they’re planning salary increases for current employees to keep pace with higher pay they’ve awarded new hires, while over half (54%) of workers said that they are expecting a pay rise this year following a two-year salary freeze.

Robert Walters says two thirds stated that they will leave their job if they are not rewarded fairly, with 75% feeling ‘very confident’ about job opportunities in their sector this year.

In the past year wages for new starters grew by 6-8%, and for those professionals who moved into ‘hero industries’ such as technology or health care saw pay hikes as high as +15-20%.

Chris Poole, Managing Director at Robert Walters UK, said: “Wage increases above market value for in-demand hires was a recurring theme of the past year. As a result, we saw new starter salaries outstrip those of existing employees.

“The consequences of this will result in ‘wage compression’ – where existing employees feel their additional experience at the company (over new starters) is no longer valued or has not grown in value over the past two years.

“Looking at the year ahead we will see more companies raise the pay of their existing employees  to sit in line with new starter salaries.”

He added: “Businesses will have to decide how much to raise their salaries to keep their employees, whilst also deciding how much to pass on those costs to their clients and consumers.”

Another poll by KPMG and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) has also found that demand for staff is growing across the UK and is pushing up rates of starting pay for permanent and temporary workers. Computing and IT saw the biggest demand for permanent jobs, while for temporary positions it is nursing and care, the survey found.

Meanwhile, the Government has announced that, in England, most people who test positive on a lateral flow test will no longer need to take a PCR test.

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