Four out of 10 Britons considering a new job

2005

Employees in the UK are among the most likely in Europe actively to consider leaving their job in the next 12 months, with poor job satisfaction and a bad relationship with managers the main reason for their itchy feet.

The European Total Reward Survey from consultants Watson Wyatt found that four out of 10 UK employees said there were likely to consider leaving their employer in the next 12 months, five per cent more than the European average.

German and Swiss employees were the least likely to consider a change of employer; Swedes and Spaniards the most likely.

"The variation between different countries is partly due to cultural differences, but undoubtedly the economic landscape within each territory is crucial," said Carole Hathaway, senior consultant at Watson Wyatt.

"The reasons why people think about leaving an organisation differ greatly from the reasons they give when they actually leave," she added.

"Our survey also shows the disparity between employer and employee reporting on departure, which sends out a warning to employers about the clarity and effectiveness of their reward and retention strategies."

Poor job satisfaction was the single biggest reason that triggered a desire to change jobs, cited by three-quarters of respondents. But a poor relationship with their manager was encouraging two-thirds to think about quitting, with poor job security a factor for six out of 10.

Poor pay and poor training and development was a factor for just over half the 8,500 employees from 10 European countries quizzed for the survey.

The research also examined trends in reward packages across Europe, finding that the proportion of companies intending to move towards setting employees' pay on a "total reward" basis is set to rise to half from only one in 10 today.

"Employee reward programmes have traditionally been managed independently," said Carole Hathaway. "But increasingly across Europe companies are looking to change their approach and provide an integrated package.

"We believe that managing and communicating employee reward programmes in a holistic manner is now critical to success in managing the attraction, retention and motivation of key employees."

The elements of reward which have the greatest influence on positive employee behaviours - including commitment levels - are career development/promotion opportunities, increased flexibility and pay-for-performance culture, the research found.

"It is crucial to develop a reward strategy geared towards those key motivators of your people, to ensure employees in UK companies do not feel the need to look elsewhere," said Carole Hathaway.

"What our survey highlights is the need to identify these key drivers, design appropriate reward strategies to satisfy these needs and then make sure employees know about them."