Quarter of UK workforce expected to quit jobs in the next 12 months
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A quarter of the UK workforce are expected to quit their jobs in the next 12 months as the cost of living bites, according to research conducted by PwC.
Nearly one in four UK workers (23 per cent) expect to change jobs within the next twelve months - up from 18 per cent in 2022 - according to PwC's 'Workforce Hopes and Fears' survey, indicating that the post-pandemic 'Great Resignation' wave is far from over.
The survey of over 53,000 workers across 46 countries, including over 2,000 respondents in the UK, also finds that as economic conditions remain challenging, UK employees are increasingly struggling with the cost of living crisis.
Almost half (47 per cent) of the UK workforce have little to no money left over at the end of the month after expenses, and a further 15 per cent said their household struggles to pay all or some of the bills every month. In comparison, the average of the global workforce who have little to no money left is below that of the UK, at 38 per cent.
Strikingly, 12 per cent of workers in the UK have more than one job, with 70 per cent citing earning more money as the reason why. The economic squeeze is also driving up pay demands - over one-third (34 per cent) of UK workers are planning to ask for a pay rise in the next twelve months, up 7 percentage points from 2022. In comparison, the global proportion of workers planning to ask for a pay increase jumped from 35 to 42 per cent.
Sarah Moore, head of people and organisation at PwC UK, said: "It's clear that workplace dissatisfaction looms large, with pay, workload and overall fulfilment at the top of employees' minds. As economic conditions remain uncertain, employers will have less means to respond through pay, so will need to find more flexible and innovative approaches to engaging their staff.
"Organisations who continue to prioritise their people and invest in programmes focussed on wellbeing, flexible working, career progression and more personalised benefits will reap the rewards of employee loyalty."
While higher pay is one motivating factor for changing jobs, job fulfilment is another key priority for the UK workforce. The survey finds that over one-fifth (21 per cent) of the workforce are dissatisfied with their current role, highlighting that despite economic and job uncertainty, people are still looking to move.
Moreover, one in five (21 per cent) of respondents feel like they are regularly overworked and that their workloads have been unmanageable over the last 12 months. Lack of resourcing is most often the factor indicated as causing an unmanageable workload (44 per cent), most acutely seen in the health, government/public services and retail and consumer sectors. Other factors include unreasonable targets (33 per cent) and lack of management support (25 per cent).
The impact of AI on the UK workforce is also causing some trepidation, with UK workers seemingly less enthusiastic about AI than their global counterparts. Less than one-fifth (19 per cent) believe AI will increase their productivity and efficiency at work (versus 31 per cent globally) and only 17 per cent think AI will create opportunities to learn valuable new skills (27 per cent globally). A further 12 per cent believe AI will require them to learn new skills they are not confident they have the capacity to learn.
Nearly half of UK workers (47 per cent) are oblivious to the impact of AI on their job in the next five years. Just over one-third (32 per cent) don't believe AI will impact their job in the next five years while a further 15 per cent responded unsure, compared to 22 per cent globally. Unsurprisingly, there is a generational split, with a higher proportion of the older workforce, including 47 per cent of Baby Boomers and 37 per cent of Gen X believing AI will not impact their jobs, in comparison to 28 per cent of Millennials and 18 per cent of Gen Z.
The younger generation views AI slightly more positively, with 19 per cent of Gen Z and 17 per cent of Millennials believing that AI will create new job opportunities for them.
Laura Hinton, tax, legal and people and organisation Leader at PwC UK, said: "Businesses continue to undergo massive change - accelerated by AI - and leaders are thinking about how they can use emerging technology to improve jobs, skills and workforce productivity. The survey shows a paradox that UK workers are less positive about AI than workers globally, but at the same time don't believe it will impact their jobs.
"The truth is, AI is both a threat and an opportunity - equipping workers to understand the impact and use it responsibly will help them maximise the opportunity and unlock productivity. That's why we're investing heavily in AI at PwC and incorporating it into everyday work."
The UK workforce is already facing a rapidly changing workplace environment, yet the report highlights a disconnect between employees and employers. Nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of workers feel they have human-centric skills which are not clear from their education or job history alone. When thinking about the future, nearly half (49 per cent) of UK workers agree that the skills required for their job will change significantly in the next five years.
Interestingly, over two-thirds of employees (63 per cent) believe soft skills will be important to their careers and almost half (46 per cent) believe employers are overly focused on the narrow confines of job history. The awareness of the need for upskilling is higher amongst more skilled staff (51 per cent, compared to 15 per cent in unskilled staff). This points to a divergence in the workforce where unskilled labour could fall behind further if the opportunities for upskilling are not provided.
A further 21 per cent reported that they don't believe their employer will offer them the opportunity to apply skills that are important to their career and 37 per cent reported that they lacked confidence in their employer's ability to provide opportunities to develop transferable skills important to their career, including adaptability (56 per cent), critical thinking (57 per cent) and collaborative skills (53 per cent).
Moore said: "Businesses are going through a time of significant disruption - skills shortages, technology advancements and new ways of working mean CEOs need to listen to their workforce to successfully adapt. Key to this will be the necessity of leaders to engage the workforce to this change and equip them with the skills of the future. The skills shortage is not a new problem, but as our data shows, there is a mismatch between the skills required and those that employees see as central to their development.
"In this context, shifting to a human-centric skills-based organisation could be key. Employers who use skills to find the right people for the right job will widen their talent pool, allowing them to find talent hiding in plain sight."
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