Half of UK professionals plan to actively look for new jobs in the next six months

Monday, October 23, 2023

A recent survey conducted by Morgan McKinley has revealed that more than half of UK professionals are planning to actively seek new job opportunities in the next six months, with a significant number citing a desire for a higher salary as their primary motivation. The survey highlights the evolving job market landscape in the UK and the shifting priorities of workers and employers.


Higher Salary Takes Centre Stage

The survey, which involved a diverse group of professionals across the country, found that 51% of respondents are looking to change jobs. Among the top reasons for their desire to switch roles, a "higher salary" led the way at 42%. This reflects the ongoing focus on financial security and improved earning potential among the UK workforce.

Following closely behind, 13% of respondents mentioned seeking "meaningful and impactful work" as their motivation for exploring new career opportunities. It demonstrates that while financial compensation remains vital, there's also a growing desire for work that offers personal fulfilment and purpose.

Optimism for Salary Increases

In terms of salary expectations, 49% of professionals are optimistic about receiving a salary increase in 2024. Simultaneously, 70% of employers are planning to increase salary offers in 2024, especially for roles in high demand. This suggests that employers are recognizing the need to stay competitive and attract top talent by offering competitive compensation packages.

Dissatisfaction with Benefits

The survey also highlighted worker dissatisfaction with the benefits they currently receive, with 59% of respondents expressing neutrality, dissatisfaction, or strong dissatisfaction with their current benefit packages. This finding emphasizes the need for companies to reevaluate and enhance their benefits packages to attract and retain skilled employees.

Contracting on the Rise

Interestingly, the survey revealed that contracting is becoming increasingly attractive to professionals. Approximately 48% of those currently employed in permanent roles would consider making the switch to contracting. Key factors driving this interest include "better rates of pay," "greater opportunities to develop skills," and "more flexibility."

Challenges in Hiring

The job market's competitiveness is evident, with 86% of organizations in the UK reporting that hiring has been "quite" or "very" competitive in 2023. Forty-six percent of these organizations have missed out on hiring new talent in the past six months due to their inability to compete on salary and benefits. Furthermore, 40% of organizations expect their greatest recruitment challenge in 2024 to be the "lack of skilled candidates available."

Looking Ahead

Despite the challenges, 52% of UK businesses still plan to hire in the next six months, demonstrating a commitment to growth and expansion. David Leithead, Chief Operations Officer of Morgan McKinley UK, commented on the findings, stating, "The underlying economic gloom caused many employers to slow recruitment; the frenzy to secure new hires has been replaced by companies taking time and care to ensure the best hiring decisions are made. Despite this, the pressure to find new talent has remained, as companies look to drive ahead with change agendas, satisfy new regulatory and legal regimes, maximize commercial opportunities, and respond to turnover."

Leithead also noted, "Many employers offered inflated salaries to secure talent throughout 2021 and 2022, so it's unsurprising that salary offers have largely normalized with fewer opportunities available." This adjustment reflects the changing dynamics in the job market, as companies seek to strike a balance between attracting top talent and managing their resources effectively.

In conclusion, the survey's results indicate a dynamic and competitive job market in the UK, with professionals looking for better financial rewards and more meaningful work. Employers are adjusting to meet these changing demands and remain competitive in their hiring strategies. The evolving landscape suggests that salary and benefits are key factors influencing professionals' job-seeking decisions and employers' talent acquisition efforts in the coming months.