Post-pandemic talent exodus could cost businesses up to £17 billion

Businesses may be sleepwalking towards a costly talent exodus, as four in 10 employees (38%) are looking to change roles in either the next six or 12 months.

Once the COVID-19 pandemic is over, 55% of 18-34-year-olds plan on leaving their current employer, according to new research by HR software company Personio.

The cost of additional staff turnover over the next 12 months could amount to an estimated £16.9 billion charge for businesses in the UK and Ireland.

This would equate to £10,076 per business, with SMEs alone facing estimated costs of up to £5.8 billion.

To avoid losing top talent, Personio said businesses should prioritise their people as the country emerges from the pandemic.

While nearly half (45%) of employers are worried staff will leave once the job market improves, only a quarter (26%) said talent retention is a priority for their organisation over the next 12 months.

Speaking to HR magazine, Martina Ruiss, director of talent at Personio, said the findings highlight the importance of reducing the disconnect between employees and employers as the pandemic restrictions begin to ease.

She said: “However well you think you’ve been managing your workforce, unless you take time to speak to employees and properly understand their challenges and needs, you may be left unaware of sometimes subtle signs of itchy feet and therefore be unable to take action in time.

“And it’s not just on HR to take action, ultimately, this is the whole business’s responsibility, and management and leaders should also be leading the way in opening these conversations and bridging any gaps.”

However, Ruiss said it may be up to HR teams to get the ball rolling.

“Looking ahead, HR teams need to ensure that they have a solid, long-term strategy which puts their people at the heart of everything they do and anticipates potential problems, such as talent shortfalls, so they can get ahead of them.

“Here, creating a strong vision and getting buy-in and feedback from both leaders and employees is key,” she advised.  

Ruiss said employers need to take the time to care for their workforce, as the rewards outweigh any loss of time.

“Good people strategies are not only key to closing damaging disconnects between employers and their people, but they will also empower businesses to thrive in the coming months and years,” she said.

Personio surveyed 500 HR decision makers and 2,002 workers across the UK and Ireland between 12 and 22 March 2021.

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