Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

One in three are unhappy at work and half of all workers want job security more than a payrise

In an age of job uncertainty, growing competition and rising workplace stress and anxiety, one in three workers report being unhappy at work with 45% of workers looking to move jobs in 2019.

  • 45% of workers want job security more than a 3% payrise
  • Only 5% of UK workers say they trust their leaders
  • 16% of workers say workplace stress is driving them to change jobs 

In an age of job uncertainty, growing competition and rising workplace stress and anxiety, one in three workers report being unhappy at work with 45% of workers looking to move jobs in 2019.

The 2019 Job Exodus research developed by Investors in People highlights improvements in satisfaction across the UK workforce, representing a slight upward trend. However, despite the reduction in the proportion of those considering a job move, there are still nearly 1 in 3 unhappy workers in our workforce.

IIP CEO Paul Devoy comments: “Despite a decade or more of research looking at the economic benefits of happiness, it’s frustrating that all too often, wellbeing at work focuses on reducing stress not increasing happiness. Yet we know that humans want to be engaged in meaningful relationships, feel valued and useful. And that in this environment people are both happier and more productive.

Empirical analysis and experience have shown that increasing happiness has anything from a 12% to 14% * effect on productivity. Some estimate that for every £1 that an organisation invests in mental wellbeing support, they can expect £9 return on investment*

If organisations are to attract and retain talent, then leaders need to ACT ON this area of employee experience and increase the happiness of their people.”

54% of job seekers are looking for an increase in salary but paying your people more isn’t the best way to retain talent. Instead workers stay in jobs where there is a good work-life balance (37%) and a good team (34%).

Future of work

Despite economists’ predictions that the gig economy is the way of the future, the research indicates that job security is what nearly half of all workers are looking for. Both the Taylor Report and subsequent Good Work Plan highlight the value of flexi-time to UK workers, something 25% of workers here agree with. However, in addition to job security, UK workers are demanding good teams (34%) and want to feel valued at work (16%). Indicating that people are prepared to give up some flexibility to re-establish a social contract with employers.

With only 5% of workers reporting trust in their leaders it’s no surprise that workforce is willing to look elsewhere for security. 

The top three reasons for people wanting a new job are:

  • They feel they can get more money elsewhere (33%)
  • They feel they can get more satisfaction elsewhere (30%). 
  • They don’t feel their skills are valued by current employers (21%)


Investors in People results revealed that 26% of people believe that Brexit will negatively impact their job security, which is a 3% increase from last year indicating that until there is more certainty about the post- Brexit deal, it is likely to continue to be a cause for concern for the workforce.

The Job Exodus 2019 research clearly outlines that if employers wish to attract and retain staff, they must not only offer pay at a competitive level for their sector, but they must also ensure good quality, enjoyable work.

Please download the full report here


Since 2015 Investors in People have carried out an annual survey to provide trend and sentiment analysis from working age people across the UK. By showing the likelihood that people are looking to move jobs and unpicking the reasons why this report and research provides advice for organisations to retain and recruit the best talent

Research here was delivered by One Poll, who surveyed 2000 people in the UK in December 2018.