The CIPD recently reported that three out of five employers have experienced difficulties in recruiting and retaining talent in the past year.1 A recent Accenture survey of 500 international executives found that "people issues" have become more important over the course of the last 3 years.2 All employers need to keep their most productive employees and remain an employer of choice to attract new talent.

Labour Turnover

  • Average labour turnover in the UK increased to 17.9 per cent in 2000. There are significant differences between industry sectors with large increases in the turnover rate in retail, construction and professional services.3 Turnover in banking, finance and insurance sectors has fallen.

  • Ernst & Young recently calculated that the cost of losing an employee amounts to four times that employee's salary. The Hay Group has calculated that employee turnover could cost companies up to 40 per cent of their annual profits and that a third of all employees plan to resign in the next two years.4

  • Over a third of managers believe that staff turnover is the prime cause of workload pressure.5

  • A third of women and a quarter of men would definitely trade pay for time.5


  • Vacancies and starting salaries for new graduates are both rising.6

  • An organisational issue that impacts on the retention of graduate recruits includes responding to a need for them to balance work life with home life.7

  • 45% of final year MBA students said that a balanced lifestyle would be a priority in a future career. The ability to achieve a balanced lifestyle was chosen by 90% of respondents.8


  • Most employees interviewed in a recent survey said that they could compete more effectively for scarce labour if organisations offered greater flexibility in working hours and offered family friendly initiatives and benefits.9

  • "Balance the needs of work and family or personal life" was a statement selected as describing the most or second most important attribute in a job.10

1 Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. Labour Turnover 2000. London: CIPD, 2001.

2 Accenture. The High Performance Workforce: Separating the Digital Economy's Winners from Losers. London: Accenture, 2001.

3 Confederation of British Industry. Pulling Together: 2001 Absence & Labour Turnover Survey. London: CBI, 2001.

4 Hay Group. The Retention Dilemma. London: Hay Group, 2001.

5 Ceridian Performance Partners/Management Today. Work/Life Balance: Whose Move is it Next? London: Ceridian Performance Partners, 2001.

6 Careers Service Unit. Graduate Market Trends Salary & Vacancy Survey. 2001.

7 Sturges J & Guest D. Should I Stay or Should I Go? Issues relating to the retention of graduates. Warwick: The Association of Graduate Recruiters, 1999.

8 Coopers & Lybrand. International Student Survey Report. London: Coopers & Lybrand(now PricewaterhouseCoopers), 1997.

9 Bevan S, Kettley P, Patch A. Who Cares? The business benefits of carer-friendly practices (IES report 330). Brighton: Institute for Employment Studies, 1997.

10 Gemini Consulting. International Workforce Management Study: Capitalising on the Workforce. London: Yankelovitch Partners Inc, 1998.