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Two-thirds of City workers have changed jobs in last 3 years

Astbury Marsden says that that the stresses and strains that workers in the financial services sector have been under since the financial crisis have driven up staff turnover.

Cuts in bonuses, wage freezes, fewer internal opportunities for promotion – coupled with increased workloads - have left many feeling disaffected with their current employer.

Cathryn Jowett, operations director at Astbury Marsden, commented, “The City has always had relatively high churn but to see turnover on this scale shows just how acute an issue retention has become.”

“Staff cuts mean that most workers in investment banks have a far heavier workload than previously and banks have been under enormous pressure to cut pay and bonuses for those staff they have kept.”

“Today the motivations behind staff quitting are very different to what they were during the boom times – it’s much tougher working in the City than ten years ago so staff are keener to switch employers to start with a clean sheet.”

Astbury Marsden says that, despite the scepticism of some commentators, there’s a lot of truth in the concern amongst senior bankers that if they can’t reward staff adequately, they will quit.

Jowett added, “If employees find their wages have been cut, it’s normal for them to feel less loyalty towards their employer. Often it’s about the principle, the feeling of being valued, as much as the money.”

“In addition, regulatory changes in capital requirements have made large sections of investment banks unprofitable, forcing many working in those areas, like proprietary trading, to look around for better paid employment.”

More than half say lack of career development main reason for quitting

A lack of career development is the main reason for City staff to leave their job, with over half of respondents saying this is their primary motivation for moving on. However, 37% believe that unfair pay levels are a key factor and a third cite a lack of recognition for their achievements.

Despite the high staff turnover figures, Astbury Marsden’s research suggests that the numbers of staff moving jobs could be even higher if there were more opportunities on offer at other employers – one fifth of respondents said that a lack of opportunities elsewhere was keeping them in their role.

“As the jobs market begins to improve we could well see employee retention becoming an even more critical issue for the City,” says Jowett. “Employers should make sure they are offering good prospects if they want to ensure that key staff stay on board.”

“Employees stay with their employer as long as they feel valued as well as challenged and stretched. In order to improve retention levels, companies need to make sure they provide interesting work, good pay and clear opportunities for career advancement within the business.”


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