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The highest motivators to change jobs: 2024 UK market data

Around a fifth of the UK workforce plans to seek new employment in the next 12 months. What’s prompting this shift? According to TotalJobs, the top three motivators to search for a new job in 2023 were:

  • A higher salary (57%)
  • A lack of job satisfaction (39%)
  • A better work life balance (33%).

In this article, we’ll explore each of these reasons in more detail and how they relate to recent trends in the UK job market. We’ll also share independent data from our series of related LinkedIn polls and expert job search advice, helping you to find your ideal, long-term role. 

Seeking a higher salary

Last year, KPMG UK reported that 40% of workers surveyed were looking for a new job as a result of the rising cost-of-living crisis. 57% of this figure stated they wanted to make a career move within a year, due to immediate economic issues and 38% of respondents sought an improved salary and benefits.

Recent data has revealed that on average, UK workers consider an 8% pay rise as ‘fair.’ A figure that stands 4.1% above inflation (as of November 2023).

Better salary transparency | UK job market analysis

Given its importance to job seekers, it’s perhaps unsurprising that salary transparency has become more common on job boards across the last five years.

This means that more adverts include clear information about the offered rate of pay, as an alternative to listing the salary as ‘competitive’ or keeping it confidential until later in the hiring process.

Salary transparency can be highly beneficial for jobseekers (especially those experiencing stagnant wages amid current inflation rates), as it allows them to quickly deduce whether a role aligns with their desired pay and needs.

Indeed stated that “around three-quarters of postings contained salary information” at the time of their report, rising from a figure of approximately 56% since 2019.

A chart from Indeed, detailing the rise of pay transparency in the UK job market (Jan 2019 - Jan 2023).

In 2022, the UK government launched a pay transparency pilot scheme, which encouraged employers to: 

  • Include salary information on their job adverts 
  • Not ask applicants to disclose their salary history.

The aim of the scheme was to target barriers faced by women related to the gender pay gap, stating that it would provide a firm footing for women to negotiate pay on a fairer basis.

This method can help businesses to effectively attract and retain female employees, as it signifies their commitment to fostering an equitable workplace. All workers can benefit from this scheme, regardless of gender, as it helps to limit unconscious bias

Being part of a culture that promotes honesty, communication and respect can be powerful for overall job satisfaction – which translates into better staff retention for employers.

Second jobs | Distinct poll results

In 2023, discovered that 73% of workers had either started (or considered starting) a side business to gain extra income. The highest motivation for doing so was to earn more money (71%).

When we asked our LinkedIn audience if they had considered taking on a second job or starting their own side business:

  • 57% stated that they had considered it
  • 21% already had a second job or side hustle
  • 20% had not considered it.

Work engagement and job satisfaction | UK job market analysis

If you feel unsatisfied with your current job, you’re certainly not alone. In 2023, the UK’s rate of engagement (or job satisfaction) was approximately 10%. 

This figure was one of the lowest in Europe and ranked 33rd out of 38 among peer countries, according to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace Report.

In response to their report, Gallup Partner, Anna Sawyer advised: To tackle widespread disengagement, businesses need to be championing employees and giving them the right tools and resources to be productive and purposeful.

If you’re feeling a lack of job satisfaction

By identifying the pain points in your current role, you can better understand what you want from your next role and employer. Maybe you’re looking for:

  • More challenging and rewarding tasks
  • Better, transparent communication and guidance
  • Clear steps and goals to progress your career 
  • Study support, or other forms of learning and development
  • More recognition for your work
  • A stronger feeling of job security.

By understanding what truly makes you feel engaged and satisfied at work, you’ll find it easier to deduce whether an advert is aligned with your personal needs and long-term ambitions, helping to optimise your job search. 

Moreover, it could be beneficial to initiate a discussion with your current employer, exploring potential options within your current role. Waiting until the counteroffer process is something we see all too often. Instead, we recommend making these conversations the first step, enabling you to determine if a new role is genuinely the right move.

Considering your personal values 

In a recent international study published by King’s College London, 73% of UK respondents agreed that work is important in their lives. However, this percentage was the lowest among the 24 countries surveyed.

Often, job satisfaction and the importance we place on work, can both be influenced by how closely your employer and role align with your own personal values. This is often a big consideration for those who begin a new job search.

In 2023, a cultural trend known as ‘climate quitting’ highlighted that company commitments to the environment influenced many candidates’ choices on where to work and whether to remain with their current employers.

This perspective, shared across generations aged 18-44 alike, demonstrated that worker motivation is not solely monetary and that the alignment of personal values with work is becoming increasingly important.


Searching for better work-life balance

Depending on the personal motivations of your job search, perks involving flexibility and a better work-life balance can act as valuable alternatives to a higher salary. In 2022, 66% of UK parents with children under 5 stated they would in fact take a pay cut, if it meant being “able to work more flexibly around their children”.

Additionally, around 70% of both Millennials and Gen Z-ers, stated that they prioritised their work-life balance over a higher salary or promotions in 2023. 

Remote and hybrid work | UK job market analysis

Job adverts offering flexible working dipped slightly throughout 2023, possibly as a result of the events around RTO mandates, yet still remained at a relatively high rate of 14.4%.

A chart from Indeed, detailing the rise of job postings which contained remote or hybrid terms in the UK job market, from 2020 - 2024.

Entering 2024, Indeed’s data shows an upwards trend which suggests this percentage may rise again as other businesses look to fill a gap in the market; attracting talented jobseekers who prioritise flexibility. 

Supporting this prediction, Indeed also stated that job adverts offering four-day workweeks have risen, though they remain ‘niche’ at around 0.8% overall.

Work-life balance, flexibility and RTO mandates | Distinct poll results

Last year, many large-scale employers who previously offered hybrid and remote schedules began to mandate that their workers return to the office full-time. As employees began to push back through protests, petitions and even quitting, this highlighted a widespread power struggle over remote working

In fact, 50% of employees without flexible work options are considering a job change in 2024. In light of this, we ran a series of polls to ask our LinkedIn audience their perspectives on flexible working. Among other interesting learning points, the figures below provided valuable insight:

  • 16% were in roles that did not offer hybrid work, but stated they would like the option to do so. 6% preferred to work fully in-office

  • 63% of respondents classed flexible working as a deal breaker in their job search, while 30% saw it as preferable

  • On the opposite end of the spectrum, just 1% were not seeking flexibility at all

  • If offered a job that required them to be in-office five days a week, 49% of respondents would “definitely decline”, whilst 26% would consider doing so. 


No matter your motivation for changing jobs, our dedicated recruitment specialists will act as your advocate, providing free, tailored advice and coaching.

From your initial call through to the offer management stage and a check-in once you’re settled, we’ll support you at every step. Simply get in touch, or visit our jobs board to browse vacancies we’re representing in your sector.

Alternatively, if you wish to discuss recent trends in the UK job market, contact us today.


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