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WORKER EXODUS DUE TO MENTAL HEALTH COULD COST BUSINESSES £48.2BN AS 16 MILLION PREPARE TO MOVE JOB

UK businesses could be facing a £48.2bn1 recruitment bill to replace 16 million2 workers who are looking to move jobs, according to the latest research from Westfield Health (@WestfieldHealth). This is a huge increase on the 3.3 million that moved job in 20181 costing businesses an estimated £9.9bn.

Of that 16 million, 59% (nine million) workers are expected to move for mental health reasons. As such, the mental health recruitment bill will stack up to £28bn, almost three times as much as 2018’s total recruitment bill.

With an additional 8.7bn hours worked throughout the pandemic3 – an average of 116m extra hours being worked per week – workers both at home and in the workplace have been pushed to their limits.

Dave Capper, CEO of Westfield Health, explains:

“Whilst board rooms across the country focus on the bottom line, these findings show that they could be missing an even greater risk to business recovery – a talent drain.

“Exhausted by extra hours and on the brink of burnout, employees are ready to vote with their feet to protect their mental health, potentially costing UK businesses billions of pounds.

“With one in four telling us they’re less than a week from burnout, businesses have to act now or risk losing their workforce.”

Preventing the exodus

The Westfield Health research provided insight into the reasons for moving jobs and how employers could convince talented employees to stay.

Four in ten employees (40%) said their reason for moving was to try something new, with 35% wanting a better work-life balance and 34% wanting to protect and prioritise their mental or physical health.

Employers have the power to stop at least 83% from leaving, with employees stating that the top three things to prevent them from switching jobs are: businesses offering flexible/remote working options (43%); a pay rise (40%); and better mental health support, including incorporating mental health days (35%).

When it comes to the reasons for poor mental health, more than a third (36%) of employees at large (250+ employees) companies blamed too much work, while 29% cited work putting pressure on personal relationships.

Medium-sized companies (50-249 employees) are fighting the largest exodus, with a possible 68% of workers looking to move in the next six months; 43% said unhappy environments and 31% said ways of working were the main reasons for wanting to leave.

Dave Capper continues:

“There’s good news here – the vast majority of employees are open to staying with the right levels of flexibility and support. This talent drain isn’t inevitable as long as employers take action now.

“By speaking to their team and understanding what flexibility and wellbeing support employees want, businesses will be able not only to retain existing talent but attract new talent to help drive recovery.”

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