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Labour turnover in 2021 highest in not-for-profit sector

According to an analysis of labour turnover between January 2021 and January 2022, by Cendex, part of XpertHR, the total labour turnover of all companies surveyed stood at 14.4%, whilst voluntary labour turnover was at 9.5%. Organisations in the not-for-profit sector saw much higher rates of staff moves with a total labour turnover of 18.1%, and a voluntary labour turnover of 12.5%, the highest of all sectors surveyed.

For those private sector companies, the voluntary turnover rate was 8.7%, with a total labour turnover rate of 11.7%. Within the public services sector, there was a higher level of employee departures, with a total labour turnover rate of 15.6% and a voluntary labour turnover rate of 8.8%.

While much attention has been given to the ‘Great Resignation’, a rise in employees quitting their jobs, not all employee attrition during this time was on a voluntary basis. The most notable gulf between total turnover and voluntary turnover, within a specific sector, was found in the education sector, where voluntary turnover stood at 8.7%, whereas total labour turnover stood at 15.5%. Pandemic-related cost pressures have forced universities, the main component of the Cendex sample in this sector, to make redundancies affecting both support and academic roles.

Following the not-for-profit sector, retail and wholesale companies had the second-highest voluntary labour turnover of 10.3% and a total labour turnover of 15.2%. The higher rates are likely a result of the pandemic-related restrictions placed on many retail businesses over 2021.

This is followed by the transport and storage industry, with a voluntary labour turnover rate of 9% and a total labour turnover of 11.6%. Those working within the information and communication industry had a voluntary labour turnover rate of only 4.7%, the lowest rate of the industries examined by Cendex.

Those working in junior positions were the most likely to leave their roles, voluntarily or otherwise. Entry-level professionals had a voluntary labour turnover rate of 13.6%, whilst those classed as ‘routine task providers’ had a rate of 12.3%. At the other end of the spectrum, senior heads with strategic roles and senior professionals were the least likely to resign with voluntary labour turnover rates of under 7% in both cases.

Sheila Attwood, XpertHR pay and benefits editor, said: “While many organisations had to make workforce reductions due to the effects of the pandemic, many are now finding that employees are leaving of their own accord. Replacing them may not be so easy, so to counter the effects of a tight labour market and skills shortages, organisations need to build their retention strategies to meet the needs of employees.

“Tapping into employee concerns and desires, taking regular pulse checks, and keeping an eye on competitor offerings will be key to building a strong attraction and retention strategy.”

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