The days of staff staying with their employer due to economic uncertainty are coming to an end, with about one in four workers currently disengaged and planning to leave.
According to a survey of more than 4,000 employees undertaken by market research company GfK NOP, about 13% of workers intend to leave their organisation as soon as possible, while a further 11% hoped to do so within the next 12 months.
Sukhi Ghataore, an employee engagement specialist at the firm, said: “High attrition rates can be disastrous for any business, contributing to disengaged staff as well as higher operating and recruitment costs. Improving retention is vital for business stability and growth and ignoring these warning signs could hit the bottom line in the long-run.”
The most disaffected staff were found in agriculture, with 43% of personnel here keen to leave their employer. Some 39% working in transport and communications as well as in the energy and water sectors also felt the same way.
Much of the unhappiness was caused by the measures employers had taken to cut costs during difficult economic times, however. About 26% of those questioned said that their companies had introduced recruitment freezes, while 21% pointed to across-the-board pay freezes.
Among those organisations still taking cost containment action, some 13% of respondents said they were being offered reduced training opportunities, while 18% were still being affected by reorganisation moves.
As a result, nearly a quarter of workers indicated that their job satisfaction levels were lower than last year, with only 18% saying it was higher. About three in ten also said that morale was worse than a year ago, with public sector staff being worst affected (37%).
“It’s clear that the measures put in place to counteract the recession are hitting morale, with this being most evident in the public sector,” said Ghataore.
This meant that employers needed to examine the impact that such measures were having on productivity and, ultimately, profitability. “Securing the future success of the business is vital, but key to this must be ensuring the workforce is motivated and engaged,” she added.