Key worker 'exodus' warning as benefits are axed

The importance of robust employee retention and reward programmes is underlined today as new research shows that almost half of British workers are considering looking for a new job by the end of the year.

A survey of more than 7,500 workers across Europe shows that 47% of employees in the UK are considering looking for new employment. The figure is higher only in Ireland, where 49.4% of workers are looking for new roles, across the 10 countries involved in the study.

The research, by employee benefits and risk management firm Aon Consulting, suggests that companies could be risk a sustainable recovery coming out of recession by losing key staff to competitors with more attractive remuneration and reward packages.

Aon's European Employee Benefits Benchmark, a survey of more than 7,500 workers from across Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and the UK, looked at the views of workers across Europe on topics such as retirement, employee benefits and other pension-related issues.

Appetite for job hunting was significantly less across the rest of Europe compared to Ireland and the UK, with Norwegian workers closest behind at 36.4%. Job satisfaction appears to be highest in The Netherlands and Belgium, with relatively low numbers (17.4% and 17.5% respectively) reporting they would start job-hunting this year.

Peter Abelskamp, executive director of health and benefits for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Aon Consultin, said that as a result of the recession, many employers across Europe have introduced "austerity plans" in order to lower costs and maintain profitability. In addition to salary freezes or even cuts, the value of associated benefits have seen significant reductions, often with little distinction being made between high and low performing employees.

"Not surprisingly, high performing employees are starting to feel unmotivated and trapped and with a glimmer of hope for economic recovery, many such individuals in the UK are now asking themselves whether better opportunities lie elsewhere," he said.

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