Labour turnover falls again – as workers sit tight

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

Labour turnover has continued to fall year-on-year, as manufacturing workers increasingly prefer to sit tight
Labour turnover has continued to fall year-on-year, as manufacturing workers increasingly prefer to sit tight

Related tags: United kingdom

Labour turnover in the British workforce fell to 14% last year – down from 16% in the previous year, according to the latest Annual Labour Turnover data from EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation.

Labour turnover continued to fall year-on-year, as workers and employers responded to a range of economic and socio-economic factors, revealed the survey.

The biggest drop was seen among manual workers, where turnover fell from 17% to 12% year-on-year.

EEF chief economist Lee Hopley said: “These turnover figures reflect a number of diverse economic factors affecting employees and employers alike last year. These range from workers wanting to sit tight because of Brexit uncertainty through to firms looking to hold onto people in order to capitalise on the export boom coming from the weaker pound and stronger outlook in overseas markets.”

‘Keep employees motivated’

“What we do know is that with staff wanting to stick around for longer, firms need to keep a close eye on productivity levels and ensure that they have the right culture and processes in place to keep employees motivated and focused.”

Smaller firms reported the lowest levels of staff turnover. Businesses employing 50 or fewer people reported a 10% turnover compared with 17% for larger employers, defined as those employing more than 251 staff.

The south west revealed the lowest labour turnover in Great Britain, at just 10%.

The EEF defined labour turnover as people leaving companies through resignation, redundancy, retirement or dismissal. Its Labour Turnover survey was based on the period from January 1 to December 31 2016 and included responses from 236 organisations, employing a total of 48,267 employees.

Labour turnover

  • Resignation
  • Redundancy
  • Retirement
  • Dismissal

For the latest jobs in food and drink manufacturing, visit FoodManJobs​.

Manufacturers’ worries

Meanwhile, manufacturers’ worries about sourcing sufficient supplies of competent and reliable labour are set to intensify later this month, after Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed her intention to trigger Article 50 next Wednesday (March 29). Initiating Article 50 is the official notification of the UK’s intention to quit the EU.

The prime minister has repeatedly failed to guarantee the status of non-British EU workers after Britain leaves the EU. Food and farming leaders have long urged the government​ to provide assurances to the hundreds of thousands of EU workers who support the UK food and farming industry.

The National Farmers Union estimated the UK relies on up to 95,000 non-UK global workers​ solely to pick and pack fruit and vegetables. Thousands of other non UK workers – many from eastern Europe – are employed in food manufacturing and processing: particularly the poultry sector. 

Triggering Article 50 and what it means

Triggering Article 50 is the UK’s official notification to Brussels of its intention to quit the EU. Expected on Wednesday March 29, initiating the Article 50 process begins the UK’s official divorce proceedings from the EU and marks the start of its exit talks. Negotiations will focus on the UK’s trading relationship with the EU, following the prime minister’s pledge to quit the Single Market of 510M EU consumers, and the rights of EU nationals working here and British expatriates living in the EU. Article 50 negotiations are supposed to last two years. However, some commentators believe this to be an optimistic estimate; given the complexity of the talks and the fact that, until now, no country has every left the EU.  

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