A majority (60%) of UK workers say they would stop working for good if they did not have to worry about money, far outstripping the international average of 47%.
The number of UK employees ready to give up work was higher than 20 of its European peers, including Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands, according to a poll of 27,000 workers across 27 countries by recruiter Randstad.
Claire Williams, chief people officer at HR software provider Ciphr, told HR magazine it was hard to pinpoint why exactly Brits were so ready to give up on their jobs.
She said: “The answer is probably due to a confluence of factors. After a tricky three years, which have included a global pandemic and cost of living crisis, many workers might be experiencing burnout or simply want a break from the daily grind of work.”
Switzerland, Austria, and Romania had the fewest workers who would quit with 38%, 37%, and 36% respectively.
Adam Nicoll, director of Randstad UK, said that inflexible working practices in the UK may be forcing people into stressful, sub-optimal working patterns.
He told HR magazine: "The key thing is flexibility: offering the choice to work part-time in any role, allowing workers to adopt hybrid or remote working where appropriate. People want options.
“Contrast the UK's 24/7 logged-on culture, which is fraying nerves and increasing burnout, with France's 'right to disconnect' legislation.
“Or perhaps we could learn from Spain? We know naps are great for productivity. How about the flexibility to choose to take a siesta? Could more employers offer the option of a longer European-style lunch break for those that want it?
"In such a tight labour market, widening the talent pool to embrace people who might prefer to work part-time or remotely makes a lot of sense."
Gemma Dale, author and lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University, said she was not surprised to see so many in the UK say they would abandon their careers.
Speaking to HR magazine, she said: “I think that for some people, work is a key part of their life. It helps to give them meaning and purpose, and fulfils some of our social needs. But not everyone feels this way and for them, work is a means to an end.
“Culturally we see work as important and often look down on people for not working (or not working hard enough), but I am not in the least surprised by this statistic. There is a big wonderful world out there, why spend it at work when you don’t need to?”
She added that the pandemic had likely taken a toll on people's motivation, but it may be too soon to draw conclusions from the data.
She said: "Employers do need to think about making work meaningful but not to persuade people to stay and do it regardless of whether they need to, but because this is simply an aspect of good work.
“As for those who can afford not to work – good on them, I hope they enjoy it.”