- Essential workers are twice as likely to have handed in their notice in recent months and move into a different sector because they were offered more money
- Nearly half of workers have limited disposable income and are living payslip to payslip
- 37% of employers are concerned about employee quality of life due to rising living costs
- 84% of employers are already taking action to support their staff, but 96% would like to see initiatives from the government
Spiralling inflation and increased cost of living is causing over one third (37%) of UK workers to consider changing jobs, as a new report from Totaljobs raises concerns about current wages not rising fast enough in line with inflation.
The salary squeeze
The research found that employees do not think their pay is keeping up with the rising cost of living. Nearly half (48%) say they have not had a pay rise in the past year, and the 42% of those who did only reported a rise of 5% or less – less than the current rate of inflation (5.5%). Moreover, a substantial proportion (30%) of employees say that their salary does not cover basic living costs.
The research highlights just how much the rising cost of living is impacting workers across the country, with almost half (47%) stating that they have limited disposable income and are living pay slip to pay slip.
With this, more than a third of employers (37%) said that they were concerned about the quality of life for their employees due to rising living costs. In fact, 17% of workers have resorted to taking a second job to boost their income – rising to one fifth of essential workers. A further 30% are taking on extra shifts at work to earn more money. A third of workers don’t expect their pay to increase in the next year, rising to 51% of social care workers, 41% of those working in education and 37% of healthcare professionals. For those that do expect a pay rise, 41% expect this to be 5% or less - with inflation expected to peak at least to 7%, this shows that a substantial majority expect their salary to shrink in real terms.
Cost of living causes career rethink
The rising cost of living is driving more than a third (37%) of people to consider changing jobs this year. This level rises to 47% amongst social care workers. In social care alone, this could mean an exodus of more than 700,000 care workers in the next year.
The research identified that essential workers were twice as likely to have handed in their notice in recent months and move into a different sector because they were offered more money (10% vs 5%). Half (48%) said they would be willing to change sectors completely in pursuit of better pay – the same figure for non-essential workers.
Jon Wilson, CEO of Totaljobs said: “During the course of the pandemic, everyone came to recognise the value and importance of our key workers. Society simply couldn’t have functioned without them, and they kept this country running. However, those we stood outside and clapped for every Thursday continue to be among the worst paid in our society. This research illustrates that everyone is feeling the pinch of the rising cost of living – yet it is disproportionately felt by our key workers - to the extent that some are looking to move jobs for one that provides them with more financial security.”
Living payslip to payslip
Since the start of the year, 838,113 workers have resorted to taking on loans to fund basic living expenses, with 5% saying they’ve had to do this for the very first time. This figure rises to 9% when focused purely on essential workers, with 7% pushed into taking on debt for the first time.
Of those who have resorted to taking on debt for the first time, the average amount is £1,522. The research found that for essential workers, this level of debt increased by £329, rising to £1,851.
Call for employer support
When asked what action they would like to see from employers to help deal with the cost of living, a pay rise in line with inflation came out as the number one ask, with 52% ranking this as a priority. This was followed by paid overtime (36%), subsidies for energy bills when working from home (27%), a one-time bonus (22%), and internet subsidies if working from home (19%).
The research found that 84% of employers are already taking action to support their staff. 35% are giving everyone a pay rise in line with inflation, 29% are letting employees choose where they work to help cushion expenditure, and 24% are offering financial wellbeing advice. However, these measures can only go so far, with almost all employers (96%) wanting to see support from the government.
“It’s clear that the cost of living is having an impact on businesses and their staff. We’d encourage employers to acknowledge the situation we’re in and have open conversations with their staff about financial wellbeing and renumeration.”
“Now is the time to consider more holistic job offers that cater to the individual needs of candidates, especially for those hit hardest by the rise in everyday living costs. Such offers will be vital in retaining and attracting talent for the foreseeable future.”
 *Figure complied by combining the 2.58% found in the survey who Strongly agree with the statements ‘As of the start of 2022, I have resorted to taking out loans to fund my basic living expenses for the first time’ or 'During the course of the pandemic, I resorted to taking out loans to fund my basic living expenses for the first time’. National worker figure comes from ONS worker figures February 2022 Full-time, part-time and temporary workers (seasonally adjusted). These estimates are sourced from the Labour Force Survey, a survey of households.
This give the below calculation;
2.58% x 32,485,000 = 838,113 result is rounded down to the nearest 0.1 million
Data from the survey is weighted to be nationally representative, weighting figures taken from a general Omnibus audience of 2,000 respondents.