• Top reason UK HR directors say people switch jobs is for a better work-life balance
  • Seeking opportunities for further career advancement follows closely behind and is cited by 29% of HR directors
  • Four years ago higher remuneration was the primary driver behind employees seeking new employment opportunities

London, 27 August 2015 – The number one reason people leave their jobs is to seek out opportunities with a better work-life balance, reveals new research1 from leading recruitment specialist Robert Half UK. With unique access to employees when they leave a company via exit interviews, nearly a third (30%) of HR directors identified the attraction of a better work-life balance is what really drives people to switch jobs.

There has been a significant change in the trend of why people seek new employment opportunities today, compared to just four years ago. In 2011, HR directors cited higher remuneration as the primary reason people across the UK were seeking out opportunities with other employers. In London (38%) and the South England (28%), employees were particularly motivated by achieving a better work-life balance in 2011. In 2015, Scotland (38%) and Northern England (28%) lead the charge for more flexible working.

The second most common reason for people changing jobs in 2015 was to take on a new position offering opportunities for further career advancement (29%) and interestingly this was the highest response for employees in London (40%). Often employees feel they have limited opportunities to progress within their existing company and unless they are given a clear career path for progression they will often seek opportunities elsewhere.

Salary, bonus and benefit considerations were identified as the main motivation for employees switching jobs by 27% of HR directors. Meanwhile, one in 10 (11%) HR professionals said the primary motivation of employees leaving their company was to find a job in a better location.   

HR professionals’ top five reasons for people changing jobs 

  1. Better work-life balance (30%)
  2. Further career advancement (29%)
  3. Higher remuneration - including salary, bonus and benefits (27%)
  4. Better location (11%)
  5. Better corporate culture (6%)

Phil Sheridan, UK Managing Director of Robert Half, commented: “As businesses look to grow, retaining top performers should be on the forefront of the agenda. Employers should regularly benchmark the remuneration and benefits offered to existing staff to ensure they are competitive alongside firms in similar industries and regions.”

“For the majority of employees a strong work-life balance is an important aspect of their overall remuneration package, however, employers should make an effort to check in with key players to seek out their individual motivations.”


Notes to editors

1 The annual study was developed by Robert Half UK and is conducted by an independent research firm.  The study is based on more than 200 interviews with senior HR executives from companies across the UK, with the results segmented by size, sector and geographic location.

About Robert Half

Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500. We have once again been named to FORTUNE’s “World’s Most Admired Companies®” list and remains the top-ranked staffing firm (2022). Founded in 1948, the company has over 300 offices worldwide providing temporary, interim and permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, legal and administrative professionals. Robert Half offers workplace and jobseeker resources at roberthalf.co.uk and twitter.com/roberthalfuk.