'Last in, first out' fears holding back UK workers from changing jobs as vacancies soar

·2-min read
Recruiters say employees are wary of the lingering effects of the pandemic uncertainty, forcing them to remain stagnant instead of pursuing career opportunities. Photo: Getty
Recruiters say employees are wary of the lingering effects of the pandemic uncertainty, forcing them to remain stagnant instead of pursuing career opportunities. Photo: Getty

UK workers are reluctant to move jobs amid concerns over being the "last in, first out" as job vacancies soar across the country, new research shows. 

A study by LinkedIn, conducted during May this year, shows more than three-quarters (77%) of recruiters say that candidates currently seem less committed to changing roles. 

The data explored the key factors preventing firms from hiring candidates and highlighted the reluctance of workers to seek out new roles due COVID uncertainty.

Employees are wary of the lingering effects of the pandemic uncertainty, forcing them to remain stagnant instead of pursuing career opportunities.

Meanwhile, 46% of 500 respondents say they have seen a rise in the number of people "sheltering" in their current job since the onset of the pandemic to avoid putting a regular income and job security at risk.

"It’s understandable that people are feeling anxious about the prospect of moving jobs during a pandemic, particularly if they have good job security, a steady income, and their employer has treated them well over the past year," said Adam Hawkins, head of search and staffing at LinkedIn. 

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A complementary study of 2,025 job seekers from LinkedIn found 24% of UK workers have put their career on the back-burner over the past year to avoid the risk of losing a stable job. Another 21% say they have been too concerned about the pandemic to concentrate on career progression.

Hawkins expects career progression to return to become a priority in the coming months as "appetite to develop skills and gain new experiences grows, and employers offer enticing flexible working policies and exciting new benefits" to attract talent in the current labour market.

It comes as the UK economy is expanding at the fastest pace as it reopens and businesses across multiple industries are on a hiring drive. 

Figures released on Friday showed Britain's economy grew 2.3% in April, the fastest rise since July 2020.

The figure, which follows strong growth of 2.1% in March, was slightly above Reuters poll consensus for a 2.2% increase as non-essential shops and outdoor hospitality reopened to the public after months of lockdown.

The services sector provided the biggest boost to the British economy, with output growing 3.4% during the month. However overall output remains 3.7% below the pre-pandemic levels seen in February last year.

Output in the production sector fell by 1.3% in April 2021, the first fall since January 2021 as three of the four sectors contracted.

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