Salary, work/life balance and flexibility top reasons to stay

  • 53% of UK office workers are considering leaving their current role – with one in four (25%) actively looking for a new job, says a new study of 2,000 respondents
  • The majority (85%) would like to move within the next 12 weeks, and one in six (17%) would leave in less than a week if notice periods didn’t apply
  • The start of a new financial year or month (14%), hanging on for a bonus payment (12%) and easing of ‘pandemic uncertainty’ (16%) among the reasons workers have waited to leave
  • Flexibility is as important as pay for 44% of office workers asked in Virgin Media O2 Business’ annual connected working survey, part of its research into the role tech plays in improving the employee experience for organisations across the UK

Today marks the opening of the 2022 ‘Employee Transfer Window’, with more than half (53%) of UK office workers considering leaving their job – and 85% of these keen to leave in the next 12 weeks, according to a new survey from Virgin Media O2 Business.

Flexibility, work/life balance and salary all emerged as key drivers in the survey of 2,000 UK office workers, which found that a quarter (27%) are actively looking for a new job. A third (31%) of those considering a move would like to leave in the next three weeks alone, with 17% wanting to leave within a week.

Several factors have prompted the ‘Employee Transfer Window’, as one in seven (14%) would like to delay their resignation to coincide with a new financial year, over one in ten (12%) have been holding out for their 2021 bonus to arrive, and just under one in six (16%) have been waiting for uncertainty around the pandemic to settle down before changing jobs. The survey also revealed that 44% feel more positive about their career prospects now than they did pre-pandemic.

The annual connected working survey from Virgin Media O2 Business looks at the role of technology in shaping the workplace experience for organisations across the UK. Pay (28%) was closely followed by work/life balance (27%) in the top drivers causing people to look for a new role, as well as lack of career progression (23%), and feeling unhappy with their physical workplace (21%). One in ten (10%) are leaving because they feel they don’t have the technology or tools they need to do their job effectively. The figures show that the gap between salary and other factors is closing, with the 2021 research finding that in January last year, 30% of those going for a new role were motivated by pay, followed by 26% looking for a change in lifestyle.

Two years on from the first lockdown, pandemic working has also played a role in shaping the Employee Transfer Window, with 16% saying the pandemic has made them rethink their working priorities, and 14% saying they’re unhappy with how their job has changed as a result. As hybrid working continues across the UK, four in ten (44%) of those surveyed said they felt flexibility was as important as salary.

Millennials aged between 25 and 34 are the most likely to depart during the 2022 Employee Transfer Window, with almost one in three (30%) actively looking for a new role. This compares to just one in eight (13%) of those aged 55 and over. Whilst a higher salary would prompt a third of 25 to 34-year-olds (33%) to reconsider (with almost half (47%) of 35 to 44-year-olds and just over a third of over-55s (35%) saying the same), for younger workers it is more about learning, wellbeing and tech. Access to better technology (26%), more training and development opportunities (29%), and better access to wellbeing benefits (such as counselling and support) (21%) would convince 18 to 24-year-olds to stay put.

Jo Bertram, Managing Director at Virgin Media O2 Business, says: “A new financial year, coupled with a new – hybrid – normal after two years of flux, has created an ‘Employee Transfer Window’ that will see more than half of the UK’s office workers look to change roles in the coming weeks. We know that tech can help make many of the changes employees want: from connecting them to training, upskilling and mentor programmes, to giving them more choice about when, how and where they work.

“When it comes to recruitment and retention, tech is a great enabler. At Virgin Media O2 Business we’re working with our customers to explore exactly how fixed and mobile connectivity and digital workplace tools can build better ways of working for everyone.”

The latest crowd movement data shows that hybrid working continues in commuter hubs across the country. Anonymous connection data* captured by the O2 mobile network suggests commuter numbers in London have now returned to as much as 72% of what they were pre-pandemic. Thursday has emerged as the most popular commuter day in recent months, and on Thursday 24 March crowd volumes in the City of London were up 24% compared to Thursday 27 January, when work from home guidance was lifted in England.

As part of its ongoing work to understand the link between technology and the employee experience in a hybrid working world, Virgin Media O2 Business has also published The human connection – a report investigating how empowering an organisation’s people drives customer loyalty.


* Data insights from O2 Motion never allow identification or mapping of individuals and operate within strict privacy guidelines.

Journalists can contact the Virgin Media O2 press office on: 01753 565656
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