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Number of active job seekers down 13% YoY, research finds

The number of UK employees who are actively seeking new employment has plummeted, according to Gartner, Inc. The latest data in Gartner’s 1Q19 Global Talent Monitor shows that active job seeking behaviour declined 9.6% from 4Q18 to 1Q19 and decreased 13% year-over-year from 1Q18 to 1Q19.


This slide in job-seeking behaviour was paired with a continued drop in business confidence. Resting well below the global average business confidence index score of 54.7, employee sureness in near-term business conditions and long-term economic prospects in the UK declined to an index score of 47.6, representing a dip of 12.5 points since 3Q18 (down from a score of 60.1). These results follow a worldwide trend that has seen global business confidence sink to its lowest point since the 3Q17.


“Our most recent Global Talent Monitor data shows that the prolonging of Brexit has not just been a matter of penciling a new departure date in the calendar,” said Brian Kropp, group vice president in the Gartner HR practice. “This lasting, unmitigated uncertainty is having a significant drag on the optimism, work performance, and – ultimately – career decisions of employees in the UK.”


Employees’ dim outlook on UK business prospects has also affected how they approach their day-to-day activities. Amid declining perceptions of the job market, coupled with the highly uncertain Brexit outlook, employees’ intent to stay in their current jobs rose in 1Q19, with 33.6% of employees reporting a high intent to stay with their current employer, compared to 29.8% at the end of 2018.


While more employees intend to remain with their current employer, they don’t necessarily plan to work harder. The proportion of employees reporting a high level of discretionary effort — their willingness to go above and beyond at work — fell to 13.9% of the workforce in 1Q19, below the global average of 15% and a step-down from the promising 16.3% of employees who reported putting in extra effort in 4Q18.


While fewer workers are actively seeking new roles, work-life balance, location and stability remained the top three most important factors for candidates when evaluating a new job for the third consecutive quarter. Work-life balance topped the list with 54% of respondents citing this as the most important consideration when evaluating a new job; meanwhile, location and stability were selected by 50% and 33% of respondents respectively.


Amid an uncertain economic and political climate, employers must establish strategies to better engage, retain and reward their current workforce. Organisations can make progress on these goals by ensuring they prioritise the delivery of a robust employee value proposition (EVP) that focuses on the attributes driving both employee attraction and attrition.


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