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Employees get itchy feet as job satisfaction falls

Job satisfaction in the UK has dropped to its lowest level for more than two years, and job-seeking intentions have risen to a two-year high.

Almost a quarter of employees (24%) are now looking for a new job, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

The latest CIPD/Halogen Employee Outlook report surveyed more than 2,000 UK employees in February and March 2016. It found that job satisfaction has fallen across all sectors since Autumn 2015, especially in the private sector. However, employees in microbusinesses have the highest levels of job satisfaction.

The survey studied factors affecting job satisfaction and found that:

  • 23% of employees believe their organisation's performance management processes are unfair;
  • 27% are dissatisfied with the opportunity to develop their skills in their job;
  • 36% say they are unlikely to fulfil their career aspirations in their current organisation.

Claire McCartney, Research Adviser for Resourcing and Talent Planning at the CIPD, said:

"Employers need to think of new ways to keep their employees engaged and committed. Although many organisations are flatter in structure and have adopted matrix ways of working, this can mean routes for career progression are not as clear."

Businesses need to redefine their approach to careers in order to "future-proof their workforce", said McCartney. "They need to think about career growth in a more holistic way, rather than traditional, hierarchical progression, and instead give employees opportunities for a breadth of diverse experiences and opportunities that maximise their skills and their employability going forward."

On a positive note, net satisfaction with line managers has risen - 67% of employees say they treat employees fairly, 59% say they make clear what is expected of them, 57% say they are supportive if they have a problem and 55% say they listen to their suggestions.

However, line managers were reported as less likely to coach employees on the job (24%), act as a role model (34%), discuss training and development needs (38%), provide feedback on performance (42%) and keep them in touch with what is going on (46%).

McCartney said: 

"It's really positive to see overall satisfaction with line managers increasing. However … it seems they aren't hitting the mark in terms of helping that individual develop and progress. With subsequent gaps in active management, learning and development, it's not surprising that people are dissatisfied with their jobs and looking for new opportunities elsewhere."

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