British firms are not doing enough to keep their senior managers motivated and challenged, with the result being that more than a quarter have admitted to signing up with recruitment agencies in the past year.
A survey of more than 1,000 workers by recruitment agency Adecco has revealed that, while more than half of managers say they are happy with the career opportunities open to them and six out of 10 are satisfied with their salary, they still have itchy feet and are yearning for new challenges.
A sense of boredom or not feeling stretched meant senior managers were more than four times as likely to join an agency as their non-management colleagues, it found.
There was also evidence of more widespread dissatisfaction. Fewer than half – four out of 10 – of all the employees polled said they were satisfied with career opportunities.
And more than six out of 10 said they felt their skills, performance, commitment and level of responsibility justified a better pay packet.
Intriguingly, managers and employers working for publicly listed companies were more likely to be looking for ways to jump ship than their counterparts in privately owned firms.
In total seven out of 10 employees had considered leaving their jobs in the past year, said the Adecco poll.
But when it came to comparing the behaviour of FTSE and non-FTSE employees who were considering looking for a new job, stark differences emerged.
One in five FTSE-350 employees had registered with a recruiter in the past 12 months – indicating the seriousness of their job hunting – compared with one in 10 non-listed respondents, it pointed out.
A quarter of the FTSE employees had looked at competitor websites for vacancies in the past 12 months, twice the number of non-listed respondents.
Four out of 10 of the FTSE workers said they did not own shares in their company, either gifted or offered at a favourable rate, but it was a moot point whether offering this perk would have made any difference anyway.
Six out of 10 of those who did hold shares said this had little or no impact on their commitment to the business.
Conversely, four out of 10 said their company ran an internal mentoring scheme, and rated this as a good retention tool and a good reason for them to remain in post.
There were also clear signs in the Adecco poll that the tougher economic climate is starting to feed through into the jobs' market.
Four out of ten of the 1,000 employees polled said it was now more difficult to get a better job than 12 months ago.
"The adage that there are 'no jobs for life anymore' has never been more true," said Claire Darley, chief marketing officer for Adecco Group UK & Ireland.
"UK workers are now more mobile, more flexible, and actively hunting down the roles that they want than ever before. It's also particularly revealing that workers in FTSE companies are twice as likely to be proactively seeking new roles, perhaps indicating that positions in listed businesses no longer hold the long term draw that they once did," she added.
"While there are indications that workers believe it is now getting harder to find a better job, people remain undeterred and are doing more than ever to find roles that challenge and satisfy them" she concluded.