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Cost Of Living Crisis Driving Change In UK Working Habits

London, October 17th 2022: The cost of living crisis is having a fundamental impact on the way that people choose to work, according to Beamery’s latest Talent Index: Sixth Edition. Almost a third (29%) of workers are now avoiding the office because of the increasing cost of travel, whilst another third cited (31%) they were considering leaving their jobs completely due to lack of salary increases.

With economic conditions in the UK tightening, it’s perhaps no surprise to learn that 37% of workers said that low salary was the most frustrating thing for them in their current workplace; but interestingly this was mentioned by 42% of the female respondents, versus 29% of the men asked. Poor management was called out by respondents as another reason to move on, whilst a lack of career progression was listed third.

When asked why employers were struggling to retain workers, responses went beyond salary to also include a negative company culture (26%) and lack of opportunities for development (25%). According to employees, opportunities for development are being missed because individuals can’t dedicate the time to training (24%) alongside their job or they haven’t been given guidance (16%) on what skills they will need in the future to enhance their role.

The dramatic increase in the cost of energy may change worker behaviour yet again over the winter as people attempt to save on heating costs, with one in five (20%) of respondents indicating that they are now considering coming into the office more regularly.

The Talent Index data also suggests that the cost of living crisis is affecting generations differently, with 18-34s being the largest group attempting to save travel costs by working from home. They are also one of the most likely to consider leaving their job for a salary increase, with 34% considering leaving in the next 12 months for higher pay.

With continual flux in talent, employers are also working hard to attract and retain younger workers - taking increasingly into account the importance of corporate values to Gen Z workers. 20% of 18-24s agree that DE&I is very important in the talent acquisition process, but just 11% would leave because of poor company values. According to the research, regardless of age, all employees cite the same top five elements as most important when asked about what kind of organizations they want to work for – salary, job security, employee rewards, opportunities for career development, and flexible working.

Gen Z are however the most likely to believe that the gender pay gap still exists, with 86% saying it has either become bigger or stayed the same, compared to 64% of 55-64 year olds. 22% of 18-24 year olds added that more men have been promoted in the last 12 months than women in their organization.

Overall, it seems that UK employers still have a way to go in implementing effective DE&I strategies. When asked about seeing evidence of DE&I initiatives within the business they work for, there was little to show that progress was being made.

  • 18% of UK employees believe there are equal numbers of men and women promoted to managerial positions within their organization.
  • 17% felt their business has known procedures and facilities in place for people with mental or physical health challenges.
  • 15% feel that there is more gender diversity in leadership roles, compared to 12 months ago
  • 13% believed businesses provided benchmarks to identify insufficient diversity, equity and inclusion – and measured progress.
  • 13% felt that DE&I is seen as being very important in the talent acquisition process

Abakar Saidov, Co-Founder and CEO at Beamery, said: “Challenging economic circumstances are having an immediate impact on employees’ expectations of their employer. Alongside external factors, we are hearing that employees want to work in a business where personal development and training – alongside a robust DE&I strategy – is taken seriously. To retain talent, businesses must think holistically about what they can offer their employees, not only when it comes to remuneration, but in creating a company culture that invests in its people and shows leadership when it comes to driving diversity and inclusion. That’s what the modern day employee is looking for, and businesses have got to respond, or risk significant skill gaps and business continuity as people simply move elsewhere.”

Research methodology

The Talent Index (Sixth Edition) collected responses from 6,000+ workers in the UK, USA and France, of which 2,509 were from the UK. The online survey was conducted by Atomik Research and all respondents were office workers, who had at some point left their offices during the pandemic. The research fieldwork took place on 7th September – 14th September 2022. Atomik Research is an independent creative market research agency that employs MRS-certified researchers and abides to MRS code.

Read the Beamery Talent Index: Sixth Edition.