Brexit Hampering Job-Seeking Activity and Business Confidence in the U.K.


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The number of U.K. employees who are actively seeking new employment has plummeted, according to Gartner, Inc. The latest data in Gartner’s 1Q19 Global Talent Monitor shows that active job seeking behavior declined 9.6% from 4Q18 to 1Q19 and decreased 13% year-over-year from 1Q18 to 1Q19.

This slide in job-seeking behavior was paired with a continued drop in business confidence. Resting well below the global average business confidence index score of 54.7, employee sureness in near-term business conditions and long-term economic prospects in the U.K. declined to an index score of 47.6, representing a dip of 12.5 points since 3Q18 (down from a score of 60.1). These results follow a worldwide trend that has seen global business confidence sink to its lowest point since the 3Q17.

“Our most recent Global Talent Monitor data shows that the prolonging of Brexit has not just been a matter of penciling a new departure date in the calendar,” said Brian Kropp, group vice president in the Gartner HR practice. “This lasting, unmitigated uncertainty is having a significant drag on the optimism, work performance, and — ultimately — career decisions of employees in the U.K.”

Employees’ dim outlook on U.K. business prospects has also affected how they approach their day-to-day activities. Amid declining perceptions of the job market, coupled with the highly uncertain Brexit outlook, employees’ intent to stay in their current jobs rose in 1Q19, with 33.6% of employees reporting a high intent to stay with their current employer, compared with 29.8% at the end of 2018.

While more employees intend to remain with their current employer, they don’t necessarily plan to work harder. The proportion of employees reporting a high level of discretionary effort — their willingness to go above and beyond at work — fell to 13.9% of the workforce in 1Q19, below the global average of 15% and a step-down from the promising 16.3% of employees who reported putting in extra effort in 4Q18. 

Amid the uncertainty, employee comforts remain unchanged

While fewer workers are actively seeking new roles, work-life balance, location and stability remained the top three most important factors for candidates when evaluating a new job for the third consecutive quarter. Work-life balance topped the list with 54% of respondents citing this as the most important consideration when evaluating a new job; meanwhile, location and stability were selected by 50% and 33% of respondents, respectively.

Amid an uncertain economic and political climate, employers must establish strategies to better engage, retain and reward their current workforce. Organizations can make progress on these goals by ensuring they prioritize the delivery of a robust Employee Value Proposition (EVP) that focuses on the attributes driving both employee attraction and attrition.

About Gartner’s Global Talent Monitor Survey

The monitor is a quarterly survey that captures how employees and job seekers around the world feel about the economy, their personal prospects and what motivates them, or doesn’t, when it comes to work.

Global Talent Monitor data is drawn from the larger Gartner Global Labor Market Survey, that is made up of more than 40,000 employees in 40 countries. The survey is reflective of market conditions during the quarter preceding publication. 

About Gartner ReimagineHR

Gartner experts will provide additional insight into the labor and talent issues at the Gartner ReimagineHR Conference, taking place October 28-30 in Florida. Gartner ReimagineHR is the premier event for HR leaders around the world. Join Gartner and senior HR executives to hear key insights and learn actionable strategies necessary to support organizational performance. Gartner ReimagineHR will also be held August 6-7 in Sydney, and September 18-19 in London. Follow news and updates from these events on Twitter using #GartnerHR. 

About Gartner for HR Leaders

Gartner for HR Leaders brings together the best, relevant content approaches across Gartner to offer individual decision makers strategic business advice on the mission-critical priorities that cut across the HR function. Additional information is available at www.gartner.com/en/human-resources/human-resources-leaders.

About Gartner

Gartner, Inc., is the world’s leading research and advisory company and a member of the S&P 500. We equip business leaders with indispensable insights, advice and tools to achieve their mission-critical priorities today and build the successful organizations of tomorrow.

Our unmatched combination of expert-led, practitioner-sourced and data-driven research steers clients toward the right decisions on the issues that matter most. We are a trusted advisor and objective resource for more than 15,000 organizations in more than 100 countries — across all major functions, in every industry and enterprise size.

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