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Job turnover low despite sense of insecurity

Job tenure - the average length of time a job is held - remained broadly unchanged in the UK between the 1970s and the mid-2000s, and surveys show it has increased in recent years.

The Good Work Commission's paper 'The Employment Relationship and the Quality of Work' showed that:

  • more than 80 per cent of jobs have permanent contracts
  • while there are fewer full-timers and more part-timers, two-thirds of UK employees continue to be employed on a full-time basis
  • there has been no significant trend towards greater self-employment or temporary work in the UK, with levels of the latter relatively low in comparison to other European economies
  • perceptions of job insecurity are not rising exponentially.

Last year's CIPD report 'Has job turnover slowed down?' proposed that economic conditions were likely to be the main reason why job turnover fell after 2008: more employees 'sitting tight' in their jobs while they weathered the storm.

The report cited changes to occupational pension arrangements, the introduction of the National Minimum Wage and population ageing as likely reasons for reduced job turnover and longer tenure.

Looking more closely at why employees seek a change of jobs showed that:

  • the youngest employees were most likely to be looking to change jobs; the oldest were least likely
  • those who had spent 1 to 2 years in their role were the most likely to look for alternative work; those who had been employed the longest were least likely
  • those who felt engaged with their jobs were the least likely to be looking elsewhere; disengaged employees were the most likely to seek other work.

Acas publications and services

Acas training includes a range of courses on the subject of Staff retention. For example, Building stress resilience in the workplace raises awareness of the physiology of stress, and explores practical actions to prevent and manage stress.

The People Factor booklet is aimed at helping you improve employee engagement in your organisation.

The Acas article pdf icon Placing Trust in Employee Engagement [120kb] reviews the evidence and considers the role of trust in creating an engaged workforce.

For free, impartial advice on any employment relations issue, call the Acas Helpline on 0300 123 1100, or consult Acas Helpline Online.

Visit the Acas Training Courses, Workshops and Projects area for more information.

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