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Job hunt warning as more firms focus on steady staffing levels not new hires

The Covid pandemic inspired ‘Great Resignation’ has been replaced by the ‘Big Stay’ as economic uncertainty means workers look to remain in post.

At the same time, more employers are holding steady on staffing levels as the labour market slows, new research suggests.

A survey of more than 2,000 employers found that just over half were looking to maintain their current staffing, the highest level since winter 2016/17.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) said official data pointed to lower staff attrition in 2024 and trends returning to pre-pandemic levels.

The CIPD called on employers to focus on upskilling opportunities to retain and develop their existing workforce.

James Cockett, labour market economist for the CIPD, said: “When the economy reopened post-pandemic, turnover and vacancy levels rose in response to the hot recruitment market.

“Now, the so-called ‘Great Resignation’ is well and truly over and has been replaced by ‘The Big Stay’, with more people opting for job stability.

“Falling staff turnover and vacancies also mean the balance of power in the labour market is moving in the direction of employers and away from workers.”

Fewer employers are expecting staff levels to increase in the coming months, continuing the downward trend in workforce growth expectations, said the report.

Upskilling the existing workforce is currently the most common employer response to hard-to-fill-vacancies as well as increasing the duties of existing staff, the research indicated.

Increasing pay remains a popular option to address hard-to-fill vacancies.

The CIPD added that its survey showed employers’ basic pay increase expectations for the next 12 months have not fallen since its previous survey and remain at 4 percent in the private and voluntary sectors and 3 percent in the public sector.


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