‘Sharp drop in number of people changing jobs voluntarily’



More and more people are opting to stay put in their jobs with the number leaving their job voluntarily almost half what it was in 2009, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

They show the number of people leaving their main job in April-June 2011 was 674,000, a drop of 42 per cent on the 1998 peak of 1.17 million. This decline suggests that the UK labour market is less dynamic now than in the past, it said. Of those who left in April-June 2011, 57 per cent chose to leave voluntarily – for example, by resigning – and 43 per cent were made to leave involuntarily, for example, by being made redundant.

Around 2.4 per cent of all workers in the workforce left their main job between April and June 2011, down from 4.5 per cent in 1998. Over this period, the proportion of workers leaving their jobs voluntarily has generally declined (from 3.1 per cent in 1998 to 1.4 per cent in 2011), but those leaving involuntarily declined only slowly (from 1.4 per cent in 1998 to 0.9 per cent in 2008) then peaked at 1.4 per cent in 2009. This was in fact the same rate as for voluntary departures in that year, the only time in this period where involuntary departures equalled voluntary ones, says the ONS.

People in the private sector were more unlikely to move jobs during the 2009 recession.  The percentage of private sector workers leaving their job voluntarily fell sharply (from 3.2 per cent in April-June 2004 to 1.7 per cent in 2009), while those leaving involuntarily rose during the recession (from 1.1 per cent in 2004 to 1.8 per cent in 2009). However, since 2009 the number of people losing their jobs in the public sector has doubled and the percentage of people chosing to leave has fallen slightly.

People in younger age groups were more likely than those in older age groups to move on.

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