Here’s where all your staff are going (and how to stop them from leaving)

As the fallout from Great Resignation continues to drive staff turnover, new data showcases the most attractive industries for career changers.

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Helena Young

The last few years have seen thousands of UK job seekers switch careers as part of a mass wave of quittings dubbed the ‘Great Resignation’.

Now, new data from Indeed has unveiled the industries with the lowest levels of staff loyalty, as employers continue to grapple with an unprecedented staff turnover rate.

Below, we dig deeper into the findings to analyse the jobs that are proving most attractive to candidates, and what employers can learn from these magnetic sectors.

Research suggests employees value pay and perks over passions

Indeed tracked the numbers of jobseekers on its platform between 1 May 2022 – 30 April 2023 looking at those seeking roles in occupations different or the same from their current or last job on their CV.

The results show that driving jobs are the most popular occupations for people considering a career change.

Below, the graph shows that ‘inclicks’ (job seekers wanting to move into an industry) are higher for drivers than outclicks (those leaving an industry). The top left quadrant of the chart shows the stickiest industries, while the bottom right signals poor staff loyalty.

Indeed chart staff attrition


Workers are also most loyal in the driving sector. In fact, historical Indeed data on staff attrition shows that the driving category has seen one of the biggest increases in inward interest and largest declines in people looking to leave versus pre-pandemic.

Acute driver shortages throughout the UK, particularly for HGV and fuel tanker drivers, grabbed the headlines in 2021 as a result of COVID-19 supply chain woes.

Employers responded by ramping up pay to try and fill roles, and the uplift in wage rates across the sector appears to have played a hand in helping employers hold onto talent.

In the face of growing worker shortages, many employers have offered pay rises to retain talent. Data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows that average weekly earnings by industry increased by 6.6% among employees in December 2022 to February 2023.

Following closely behind the driving sector are the software development and accounting sectors. High-demand also means that both occupations typically offer attractive salaries, as well as numerous benefits and perks.

Low-wage hospitality industry scores poorest for staff loyalty

According to Indeed, the occupations people most want to leave or not join include those in hospitality and tourism, community and social service, retail and customer service.

The hospitality industry has been hit hard by the economic downturn, with restaurants and bars facing a huge upsurge in their gas electricity bills. Owners are struggling to pay their staff competitive wages while contending with the increase in overheads.

In 2022, retail and hospitality workers had the lowest average monthly wage. On average, an employee working in this field earned £422 per week, compared to the cross-sector average of £642.

In this context, it is not surprising that retention is so low in the sector. While people might follow their passion into chef jobs or management roles, the reality of typical hours and pay lead to higher turnover.

ONS data backs up Indeed’s claim. It shows that retail and hospitality firms had the biggest employee loss in 2022. 25.9% of people who moved into a new industry came from this line of work, contributing to a net loss of 2.9%.

Flexible working is another pull-factor for career switchers

It’s not all about the money. Cleaning and sanitation also scored highly in worker loyalty. This could reflect the relatively flexible nature of cleaning work versus alternatives.

The ability to work a flexible work schedule has never been more sought-after amongst applicants. Throngs of UK employers now offer a four-day week. The government has even made it a legal right for staff to request flexible working through the Flexible Working Bill.

Nonetheless, certain industries have found it harder to adapt than others. CIPD research suggests that 46% of UK workers do not currently have flexible working in their current role.

This could also explain why workers are turning away from retail and hospitality. When hiring in-person, customer service roles, SMEs in this sector will find it harder to offer flexible working compared to jobs that can be done online (ie. software development or accounting).

Skilled workers least likely to switch careers

As is to be expected, the research underlines that, the more skilled an employee is, the higher chance they have of sticking to their industry.

Indeed found software development job titles had the lowest number of employees seeking work elsewhere, indicating that tech employers are responding to the digital skills gap by introducing incentives to attract and retain staff.

Specialised drivers are also less likely to look for a different kind of job. Retention is particularly strong for driving jobs requiring specific skills and experience, such as HGV drivers.

Upskilling could therefore hold the answer to retaining staff, and reducing the risk of them switching to a career with a low barrier to entry.

Workers are increasingly prioritising learning and development in their roles. In fact, an IMC report recently found that 86% of employees would remain with their current employer for longer if they offered frequent learning and development (L&D) opportunities.

Great resignation triggers reflections on recruitment

Some learnings from the Indeed data are more obvious than others. That employees want to be paid more, for example, is hardly a new discovery.

However, the research also attests to two emerging employment trends that employers should take notice of if they are to stop staffs’ eyes from wandering up a new career path.

The ‘stickiness’ of skilled workers indicates employers should invest in L&D, while the popularity of remote roles testifies to the power of flexible working as a pull-factor. As demand grows for these kinds of policies, those who do not respond will quickly be overtaken by rivals.

Business owners should then use this information to inform their recruitment strategy, and build a more attractive job advert that will appeal to modern candidates.

Jack Kennedy, UK and Ireland economist at Indeed, says: “The study emphasises the need for employers to understand patterns in career switching interest both to boost attraction of workers from other sectors and hold on to existing employees.

“By offering the right rewards, flexibility, training and support, employers can get the most out of their team, boost talent retention and meet the needs of a dynamic workforce.”

More on this: how to manage high staff turnover

Written by:
Helena Young
Helena is Lead Writer at Startups. As resident people and premises expert, she's an authority on topics such as business energy, office and coworking spaces, and project management software. With a background in PR and marketing, Helena also manages the Startups 100 Index and is passionate about giving early-stage startups a platform to boost their brands. From interviewing Wetherspoon's boss Tim Martin to spotting data-led working from home trends, her insight has been featured by major trade publications including the ICAEW, and news outlets like the BBC, ITV News, Daily Express, and HuffPost UK.

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