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Half of Brits in constant state of ‘Career Itch’ – that work life balance won’t fix

Findings mark the launch of Monster’s World Of Work study which reveals:

Company Profile


  • Only 51% of Brits feel settled in their job and are 10% more likely to be searching for a new one than European counterparts
  • Millennials most likely to compromise but not on values, which must match a business’
  • Disparity in what employees and employers consider important for job satisfaction

New European research from Monster.co.uk, in conjunction with YouGov, has revealed that Britons are the most likely to have searched for a new role in the last month (23%), 10% higher than their continental counterparts. This rises to almost one third (30%) of Millennials, with 18-36 year olds the most transient population, despite feeling the most satisfied in their job (67%). The itch for a career change is constant – with only half of people saying they ‘feel settled’ in their job.

However, when it comes to getting our dream job, we’re more flexible than expected – with 61% of Britons saying they have compromised when accepting their current role. More than a quarter (28%) took a lower salary and almost one in five (16%) found more limited opportunities than they hoped for, settling for something not quite right. While younger job seekers may be perceived to be more demanding, it is Millennials who are most likely to compromise (66%).

What’s important to employees and employers?

Only 17% of people say they want to move regularly between employers – yet, with such a high proportion of employees saying they are looking to move role, where are employers not hitting the spot?

Aside from pay, which both employers and employees recognised as the most important factor, the research highlighted a huge disparity in what employers think is important for employee satisfaction, in comparison to what employees said was important.

What EMPLOYEES say is important for job satisfaction (UK)

What EMPLOYERS believe is important for job satisfaction (UK)

Make better use of my skills (36%)

Ensuring work life balance (49%)

Improve the leadership skills of management: (32%)

Offering flexible working hours (43%)

Show me more respect and acknowledge my successes (32%)

Showing more respect and acknowledgment of employee successes (37%)

Take care of my work-life balance (29%)

Improving the leadership skills of management (34%)

Offer me flexible working hours (25%)

Paid academic or professional training (31%)

For UK employees in particular making better use of skills was highlighted as hugely important – much more so than in other countries. In France and Germany the greatest driver of job satisfaction was work-life balance, while in the Netherlands it was being given a better job title. 

A values based organization

Job satisfaction goes beyond tangible factors such as pay and number of hours in the office. The values of the business were highlighted as hugely important by employees – far more important than whether the organization is high profile or well known (37%).   

  • 83% of employees want to work for an organization that values loyalty
  • 78% want to work for an organization where the values match their own
  • 76% want to work somewhere they feel they can make a difference
  • 67% want to work somewhere that has a powerful social and environmental conscience 

Those feeling the strongest about aligning personal and professional values were 18-36 year olds - 35% strongly agreed it was essential these matched up, in comparison to 27% of other age groups.

Andy Sumner, Managing Director for Monster UK & Ireland, said; “This research provides important insight into what makes employees and employers in the UK and across Europe tick. There is clearly a restlessness amongst workers in the UK, with a quarter searching for a role in the last month. Even the most satisfied workers, Millennials, have itchy feet and are looking to find better.  

“Our research found a real disparity between what employees want, and what employers thinks matters. While pay, flexibility and work-life balance are important, it’s essential for all organisations to think about how they can nurture the skills of their people, provide strong leadership, and really articulate their business’ purpose, values and goals – especially for the younger demographic.”

The study marks the first instalment of Monster’s World of Work research – looking at workplace fulfilment and trends across the UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands.