Pandemic fuels ‘Great Resignation’ in UK job market as workforce rethinks career priorities


The pandemic has created conditions ripe for job switching as employees seek more responsibility, better perks, career progression and an improved work life balance or culture elsewhere.

In the wake of lockdowns, as many as one in twenty (4.7%) UK workers resigned from roles while increasing economic stability and chances for self-reflection have created a fresh wave of people moves. In the UK, the top five reasons for leaving a role were:

  1. Salary and benefits
  2. Location and accessibility
  3. Job security
  4. Work atmosphere
  5. Flexibility

The UK is not alone as there are similar challenges across the European stage. Germany had the most Covid-related resignations (6%), followed by the UK (4.7%), the Netherlands (2.9%) and France (2.3%). Belgium was the most stable (1.9%) in terms of resignations.

In response to talent retention challenges, employers are improving flexibility options for their people. In the UK, six out of ten (59%) now have a positive experience regarding discussions around when to work and where to work (60.7%).

With added emphasis on flexibility, nearly two-thirds (65.5%) of UK workers say they have a positive work-life balance.

The majority (55.8%) say that remote working from home affords boosts in productivity. More than half (56.9%) of the UK workforce now plan to work frequently from home when possible, with many (56.8%) now benefitting from a wider range of flexible, digital tools at their disposal to enable this.

Colette Philp, UK HR Country Lead at SD Worx said: “The easing of pandemic restrictions has opened a massive pressure valve in the job market. With the ‘Great Resignation’ washing over industries, employers are scrambling to make their roles and organisations more appealing, and offering flexibility is key to ensuring job satisfaction in the current climate.

“UK workers value salary and benefits above all else, but Brits are looking for new roles that offer flexible work arrangements in terms of location, culture and scheduling. Employers that don’t offer employees what they need are now in danger of losing ground in the war for talent. Senior leaders and HR teams will need to redouble efforts to make roles more attractive and competitive if they want to retain and develop their talent benches.”