Return to office leads two thirds of employees to consider finding a new job

The amount of workers actively looking to change jobs rose from 15% in 2021 to 23%, a global survey by payroll provider ADP reveals

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Worker demands for more flexibility and security, bolstered by the Covid-19 pandemic and a tight labour market, are only growing more intense as the world economy reopens and some companies begin trying to pull employees back to offices, payroll provider ADP has said.

In a survey of nearly 33,000 people worldwide, ADP found that two thirds of workers would consider looking for a new job if forced unnecessarily to return to the office full time.

The number of workers who feel their industry is secure fell from 36 per cent in a similar 2021 survey to 25 per cent. The share actively looking to change jobs rose from 15 per cent to 23 per cent, with a nearly a third mulling the start of a job search compared to 24 per cent in 2021.

"The pandemic lingers. The stress induced by the pandemic in the workplace has increased, not decreased," said ADP chief economist Nela Richardson.

Half of workers said they were only somewhat or not at all satisfied with their current job. Issues that emerged during the pandemic — around hours worked and the location, working unpaid time and stress — were driving employees to negotiate the terms of their current jobs or plot an exit, ADP said.

"The pandemic has sparked a rethink of priorities and workers are signalling a willingness to walk away if employers don’t meet their standards on a variety of fronts," the ADP survey revealed.

The findings track US data showing high levels of job turnover, as well as near-record vacancies as firms struggle to recruit and hold on to workers.

A mismatch between the numbers of people looking for work and the number needed to fill vacancies is driving high wage gains in some industries and is one of the central tensions that the US Federal Reserve officials feel needs to be resolved to slow high inflation.

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