Nearly a third (29%) of the UK’s workforce is considering a significant career change after the coronavirus crisis has subsided, according to new research.
The study of 1,000 UK workers[i], conducted by the Adecco Group UK and Ireland, part of the world’s leading HR solutions company, found that a further 16 percent are already in the process of retraining for a new career while in lockdown.
The research comes as the true impact of the pandemic on the UK’s labour market becomes clear, with popular employer responses including extending homeworking, recruitment freezes and introducing new flexible working arrangements. The UK’s furlough scheme to pay workers’ wages has also been extended for another four months until October.
While recruitment may not be high on the agenda for companies at this time, many may find themselves with retention and recruitment challenges once the situation has improved.
When asked why they were retraining or considering moving roles, nearly one in five (19%) respondents said that the company they work for, or did work for before being furloughed, is not treating its workforce well during the pandemic. This highlights that business leaders must focus on employee retention initiatives and building a positive workplace culture now if they are to retain the talent needed to continue business operations once the crisis is over.
This is particularly true of younger workers – nearly a quarter (24%) of those aged 18 to 24 years old said they did not feel their employer was treating its staff well during the crisis. In comparison, only 13% of those aged 35 to 44 years old said the same.
The study further found that more 18 to 24 year olds (40%) than older workers are considering a career change. However, it was found that a quarter (25%) of those aged 45 to 54 years are considering a change in role post pandemic. This suggests that the impact of the coronavirus on the UK’s labour market will not just be seen across the younger sections of the workforce, but will span generations.
Other reasons cited for considering moving roles included: a lack of jobs in the industry respondents currently work in (25%), current jobs only ever taken on as temporary work (13%) and having plans already in motion for changing careers pre-pandemic (31%).
Alex Fleming, President and Country Head of the Adecco Group UK&I commented on the findings, “Those businesses that look after their workforce and foster close, collaborative communities during the pandemic will be the ones that retain their top talent and thrive once this crisis has passed. Returning to work safely is the main priority to get the economy back up and running, but business leaders must not lose sight of what really matters – the wellbeing and career development of their employees. To avoid retention and recruitment challenges once the pandemic is over, businesses must focus on looking after their staff and their careers during lockdown.”