• Job boredom key driver of this trend, particularly for employees in large organisations

London, 4th April 2017 – UK businesses are dealing with an increase in staff turnover as over a third (36%) of HR directors have seen the number of leavers rise over the past three years, according to new research by Robert Half UK. While businesses recognise the issue and are starting to offer more incentives for staff to stay, there is a discrepancy between the issues companies' current retention strategies address, and the reasons why employees decide to leave.

The survey found that boredom and frustrations with their current role or company (35%), poor work-life balance (31%) and stagnant career prospects (30%) are the key reasons why employees choose to move on according to HR directors. Boredom has been identified as a main reason for staff turnover across companies of all sizes but employees in large businesses are particularly affected by this, with almost half (42%) naming it the key reason for staff turnover, compared to 27% in small companies and 35% in medium-sized ones.

Breakdown of respondents that listed boredom as a key reason for staff turnover

Company size


Total respondents


Large businesses


Medium businesses


Small businesses


Source: Robert Half UK

In response, companies are employing several different retention methods to reduce employee turnover including flexible working arrangements (63%) and competitive salary packages (45%). Other common retention strategies include career development and training (33%), internal promotions (30%) and counteroffers (14%). However, most fail to directly tackle the issue of workplace-related boredom, which leaves the underlying driver of employee attrition unaddressed. Giving employees meaningful and worthwhile work has been shown to make them 3.2 times more likely to be happy at work and, consequently, less likely to leave.

“UK businesses are beginning to realise that they need to prioritise the implementation of effective retention strategies as their current efforts have been unsuccessful in addressing the underlying causes of voluntary staff turnover. At a time where the labour market is very competitive and highly-skilled employees are in short supply, organisations need to ensure they look after their staff. With the productivity agenda a high priority for business leaders, considering employee happiness and well-being will promote loyalty”, commented Phil Sheridan, Senior Managing Director at Robert Half UK.

"At the end of the day, employees are a company’s most important resource, regardless of its size or sector. Losing staff because they feel unhappy and unmotivated can be avoided if businesses develop a strategy which incorporates staff wellbeing initiatives alongside career planning and, above all, nurtures a positive company culture."

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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 human resources directors 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.