With Blue Monday out of the way, thousands of people are hoping the January blues will diminish soon too.

However, that sentiment of unhappiness still reigns true for nearly half of the UK workforce (47%) who will be reportedly looking for a new job in 2018.

According to new research produced by Investors in People (IIP), in their annual Job Exodus Survey 2018, these January blues are actually more long-lived – with nearly 1 in 5 people already actively searching for opportunities. It might make alarming reading for employers, as the top three reasons for people wanting a new job are:

The statistics also suggest that nearly a third (31%) of people would rather have a more flexible approach to working than a 3% pay rise.

In my role as Head of Research, Policy and Standards at The Institute of Leadership & Management I hear so often that people don’t leave organisations – they leave managers. Indeed, this study shows that 49% of workers cite poor management as a reason for seeking a new job.

Our own research in 2016 cited a lack of progression as the main reason people wanted to move on, with 32% of employees planning to do so. But lack of progression was not the only significant reason. Others included:

The beginning of a New Year is a natural point for people to start thinking about their future job prospects. And there are many steps managers can take to respond to this.

If the opportunity to progress is the main motivation for looking for a new job, offer development opportunities such as project leading, secondments and job shadowing so demonstrating that there is scope for advancement within the organisation.

Job Exodus 2018 results suggest that if employers wish to attract and retain staff, they must not only offer pay at a competitive level for their sector, but also ensure good quality, enjoyable work. So how can this be done? Well if pay rises aren’t an option, promotion could be.

A promotion is one of the most important indicators of how well someone’s work performance aligns with the company’s expectations. An established promotion process allows leaders to elevate each employee to their full potential – while showing the company what type of results and behaviours are valued.

In any promotion process, openness is key alongside ensuring people have the opportunity to provide tangible evidence that they are achieving their outcomes. The selection process for promotions should be transparent – not carried out behind closed doors like some sort of ‘fix’ – but how you need to evidence your eligibility is conveyed with absolute clarity.

2018 promises to be another year of economic uncertainty. And if wages increases aren’t an option the best leaders will use other strategies to retain their best talent.