Quitting time: why one in three UK employees are ready to leave by the end of June

More than a third of UK employees will have left their jobs by the end of June according to new research into workplace happiness and motivation from Robert Half.

Over a third of UK’s workforce will have left their jobs by the end of June according to new research extrapolating from a survey of over 2000 working adults across the nation.

Robert Half UK‘s research from It’s time we all work happy: The secrets of the happiest companies and employees finds employees in London and the East of England are most likely to have left their roles by the end of the month. Nearly half of Londoners and 42 per cent of those in cities like Cambridge, Norwich and Peterborough admitting they anticipate quitting their jobs in the first six months of the year.

In contrast, those in the North claimed that they were the least likely to leave their roles.

Region Percentage likely to leave their current jobs
UK 36%
London 49%
East of England 42%
South 35%
Midlands 35%
Scotland 33%
North 32%
Yorkshire and the Humber 27%

Workplace happiness and the call to resign

The exodus of staff is being driven by millennial employees, born 1982 to 2002, despite experiencing above average levels of happiness (71.7) and interest (71.3) in their roles. On average, nearly half of those aged 18 to 34 are likely to have left their jobs, compared to a third of 35 to 54 year olds and a fifth of those aged over 55. This is a generation that claims feeling appreciated, being interested and having pride in the organisation that they work for as the top drivers of workplace happiness.

The study also found that those in the technology and IT industry – which ranks above average on the happiness scale at 70.1 – are the most likely to have left their current job by the end of June. In total, 52 per cent admitted they were thinking about moving on in the first half of the year. In contrast, those in administrative or clerical roles and in the marketing and creative industries were the least likely to have moved with 71 per cent claiming they were unlikely to consider a change.

Profession Percentage likely to leave their current jobs Ranking on the happiness scale Ranking on the interest scale
UK average 36% 67.2 69.6
Technology / IT 52% 70.1 69.6
Legal 47% 56.1 57.7
Accounting 45% 66.8 64.9
Finance 44% 65.7 64.0
Marketing and creative 42% 70.8 71.2
Administrative 29% 70.6 70.5

“With a skills shortage continuing in the UK, skilled employees are fast becoming aware that they have multiple opportunities available to them as demand continues to grow faster than supply,” Phil Sheridan, senior managing director at Robert Half UK said. “For today’s employees, career goals aren’t static or only reviewed annually. So for businesses looking to improve retention, efforts should be focused on proactively talking with staff about their aspirations and working to support them with their career progression. Finding opportunities for employees that engages their interest and their skills are important contributions to your employee’s happiness in their role.”

This study was developed by Robert Half and conducted by independent research firm, Happiness Works based on research from randomly selected adults who are currently employed on a full or part-time basis with the results segmented by size, sector and geographic location.

Separate research from the independent job board, CV-Library shows the top five reasons for leaving a job.

  1. A better opportunity came along (52.1 per cent)
  2. Didn’t get on with the boss (13.9 per cent)
  3. Went travelling or took some time out (6.6 per cent)
  4. No longer satisfied with the job or working environment(5.8 per cent)
  5. Left to study (4.4 per cent)

Despite an increasing number of people wanting to quit their job, the majority (85.9 per cent) have never been taught the correct process for leaving. When asked how they would go about telling their boss if they were to quit their job right now, nearly half of workers said they would organise a meeting with their employer and do it face-to-face. A further 30 per cent said they would write a formal letter, 8 per cent would call them and do it over the phone, while 7 per cent would quit via email.  The number of those quitting over email increased to nearly a quarter among millennials.

“Quitting a job can be uncomfortable for employees, even if they’re leaving on good terms. It’s clear that many UK professionals have not received the right guidance or education when it comes to this very important part of working life. That said, it’s positive to learn that despite being nervous, the majority of workers would arrange to meet their boss in person to discuss their departure. However, it appears that some would still prefer to take an easier route out, quitting over the phone or via email,” CV-Library’s founder and MD, Lee Biggins said.

Biggins recommends employers do their research to offer competitive packages and a positive working environment to stop staff from leaving in the search for better opportunities. “Not only this, but perfecting your managing style to keep the lines of communication open will encourage your staff to address any issues they may have before it reaches boiling point.”

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2016 to 2018.