Want to better understand the workplace in 2024? We’ve gathered HR statistics from various reputable sources to give you a detailed understanding of the trends, challenges, and changes that are shaping the British workplace.

Looking for work? Use the findings below to understand the UK job market, identify employer needs, and find out what benefits employees are pushing for.

Working in HR? Explore how employers are navigating talent shortages, boosting retention, and managing a workplace in flux.

9 essential labour market statistics

Given the inflated cost of living and slowing economy, 2024 may appear a challenging year to look for a job, but the job market remains dynamic, more so in certain key industries.

  • Unemployment has risen slightly over the past year, standing at 4.3% in mid-2023 compared to a post-pandemic low of 3.5% in mid-2022. (Office of National Statistics, 2023e).
  • Around the same time, 8.70 million people aged 16-64 were economically inactive, meaning they were not working but were not actively looking for work or readily available to start working. The number of inactive people was about 257,000 above the pre-pandemic level. (House of Commons, 2023).
  • UK productivity has been slow since the 2008 financial crisis, averaging at about 0.3%. (Royal Statistics Society, 2019).
  • Productivity levels are now 22% lower than if the pre-recession growth rate had been maintained. (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 2023d).
  • Furthermore, the UK’s workforce is unlikely to grow rapidly in the near future, as the working-age population is only predicted to grow by 0.4% in the next few years. (McKinsey, 2023a).
  • Nevertheless, there were 1.3 unemployed people for every vacancy in the first half of 2023. (House of Commons, 2023).
  • And competition for job opportunities has heated since mid-2022. The estimated number of vacancies fell to 949,000 in December 2023, the longest consistent fall on record. (Office of National Statistics, 2023b).
  • However, the impact of this decrease has been felt unevenly across the job market, with Construction, Professional/Executive, and Retail experiencing the sharpest declines in permanent job vacancies while vacancies in Nursing/Medical/Care and Engineering increased significantly. (KPMG & REC, 2023).
  • Meanwhile, significant increases in the number of applications per job were recorded in Social Care (+142.8%), Education (+64%), IT (+60%), Construction (+39.8%), and Distribution (+39.2%). (CV Library, 2023).

Despite the UK’s fragile economy, both job seekers and working professionals appear eager to seek out new opportunities.

  • Almost one in five economically inactive people in the UK say they ‘want a job’. (NOMIS, n.d.).
  • Around 50% of employees last year said they were actively searching for a new job or planned to in the next six months. (Michael Page, 2023).
  • Meanwhile, a further 36% of employees said they’d consider changing jobs under the right circumstances. (Michael Page, 2023).
  • Overall, UK employees are more likely to look for a new job when the economy was performing poorly, with 53% of respondents saying they were likely to do so. (Michael Page, 2023).

Why are UK workers looking for new jobs?

The data suggests that the cost-of-living crisis and a shifting work culture post-pandemic have pushed professionals back into the job market.

  • 23% of UK professionals said salary is a top priority when considering a new role, while 17% considered flexibility the most important factor in deciding whether to apply. (Michael Page, 2023).
  • Only 6% said they were motivated by a ‘greater sense of purpose’. (Michael Page, 2023).
  • When asked what they expected from their benefits packages, 32% of employees said they wanted private medical insurance, while 30% wanted increased pension contributions, and 25% wanted employer contribution to energy costs at home. (Zest, 2023).

Pay is likely motivating many employed professionals to look for new work, especially those who work in the public sector.

  • 45% of public sector workers and 32% of private sector workers in the UK believe they don’t receive appropriate pay for their achievements and responsibilities. (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 2023a).
  • Workers who moved both jobs and occupations saw their hourly earnings increase by over 12%, compared to an average 3% rise for those who remained in their current position. (McKinsey, 2023a).
  • Meanwhile, one in three workers thought now is a good time to look for a job in their city. (Gallup, 2023).

Because of the increased importance of fair pay in 2024, professionals said they wanted to see upfront salary information when applying for a job.

  • 66% of employees considered salary to be essential information in a job posting. (Michael Page, 2023).
  • One in three students and university leavers said they wouldn’t apply for a job without a specific salary or range. Just under half said they would apply. (Prospects, 2022c).

What’s the job search process like in the UK?

Despite the increasing value of networking and social media to job searching, the majority of UK professionals continue to look for jobs independently, often using search engines or online job sites.

  • 52% of employees said they preferred using online job sites to find relevant job opportunities, while word of mouth (41%) and following recommendations from friends (32%) were other popular methods. (Glassdoor, n.d.).
  • Among millennial workers, the most popular methods for finding job opportunities included using job sites like Indeed and Monster (62.42%), searching on Google (52.43%), and looking directly on company websites for open roles (51.40%). (Cheeky Munkey, n.d.).
  • Young professionals also said they would dislike a recruiter who had poorly designed websites (62.62%), gave inaccurate job or salary information (57.01%), or lacked deep expertise in the field they wanted to work in (37.38%). (Cheeky Munkey, n.d.).

For younger job seekers, independently looking for work may be preferable because of the inflated and often drawn-out cost of finding work.

  • It typically costs £506.55 for graduates to secure their first job out of university. (Barclay Simpson, n.d.).
  • 25% of UK university leavers applied for 5+ opportunities before getting their first full-time job. (Barclay Simpson, n.d.).

12 recruiting statistics

At the hiring manager’s end, a tighter job market has made it more difficult to identify and hire the right candidates. According to KPMG, the supply of job candidates has grown since the end of 2020. However, employers are still struggling to find qualified candidates.

  • The number of businesses that planned to make redundancies in the next three months fell for the first time in two years — lowering from 19% in Summer 2023 to 17% in Autumn 2023. (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 2023c).
  • According to 90% of HR professionals, recruitment remained difficult in 2023. (WorkBuzz, 2023).
  • 41% of UK employers also reported having hard-to-fill vacancies, but they were more likely to be reported in the private sector (51% of employers) than the private sector (38% of employers). (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 2023c).
  • 40% believed that a shortage of appropriately skilled candidates was one of the main barriers to their recruitment objectives. (WorkBuzz, 2023).
  • More than 50% of HR professionals in another study said finding good candidates for entry-level roles was difficult or very difficult. (Prospects, 2022b).
  • In England, most regions filled fewer permanent staff positions in 2023 than the previous year. The only exception was the Midlands, which experienced a staff growth index reading of 51.2, according to a KPMG & REC report (2023).
  • In order to address vacancy gaps, around four out of five UK businesses say they will need to hire outside of the UK in the next year. (Prospects, 2022b).
  • Meanwhile, almost 9 in 10 companies believe the current education system is inadequate for closing the UK’s digital skills gap. (Prospects, 2022b).
  • Facing tough recruitment prospects, around half (47%) of employers with hard-to-fill vacancies are upskilling their existing staff, while a similar share (43%) has raised pay. (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 2023c).

Soft skills continued to be highly sought after.

  • Collaboration was the highest-ranking skill needed (92%) in one report, though only 8% of recruiters felt that universities had equipped candidates with it. (Prospects, 2022b).
  • 79% of employers considered innovation a top skill, but only 20% felt that candidates acquired it through the university system. (Prospects, 2022b).

Additionally, employers appeared to be struggling to meet employee salary expectations:

  • 63% said that matching salary expectations was the biggest challenge to their recruitment strategy. (Michael Page, 2023).

23 diversity and inclusion statistics

Globally, over $200B (£157.5B) was pledged to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) between 2020 and 2022, with LinkedIn reporting a 67% increase in DEI job openings after summer 2020. (Deloitte, 2023).

But while diversity and inclusion remain key talking points four years later, research into the current state of the UK workplace reveals an uneven playing field.

What do we know about BIPOC experiences?

  • According to a Savanta report (2023), one in five (22%) people report having faced discrimination at work – with this figure much higher for underrepresented groups. That figure rises to:
    • 50% among employees from non-Christian religions, such as Judaism, Islam, and East Asian folk religions
    • 32% of employees who identify as LGBTQIA+
  • Among BIPOC employees in the US and UK, Gen-Z workers are more likely to report discrimination from an employer (21%) — one in three say they’ve left a job or are considering doing so because they cannot express their views. (Savanta, 2023).
  • 46% of BIPOC employees agree they’ve been passed over for promotion or not hired for a role because of their identity. (Savanta, 2023).
  • In London, the ethnicity pay gap is 33% for Black Caribbeans and 43% for Black Africans compared to their White British counterparts. (Mayor of London, 2020).
  • Londoners from ethnic minority backgrounds also send 60–90% more CVs than White British candidates before being contacted. (Mayor of London, 2020).

Data on disability in the workplace

  • Unemployment among disabled people in the UK is nearly double the rate among non-disabled people, standing at 7.5% against 4%. (The Inclusivity Project, 2021).
  • 50% of managers say they would avoid hiring a neurodiverse candidate. (Nigel Wright, 2023).
  • 10% of disabled people or those who identify as LGBTQ+ say they personally resigned from a role because of discrimination. (Chartered Management Institute, 2022).

Gender in the workplace

  • Women are paid 70p for every £1 men earn at UK startups. (Sifted, 2022).
  • The largest gender pay gaps are in Finance (22.86%) and Tech (22.67%). (Sifted, 2022).
  • Women aren’t present on 34% of UK startup boards and around 85% of C-suite roles at startups are held by men. (Sifted, 2022).
  • Men represent 86% of investment angels in the UK. (Sifted, 2022).

How are UK businesses addressing diversity and inclusion?

  • 48% of UK professionals said their organisation recognised, valued, and celebrated diversity, compared with 36% of professionals globally (WorkDay, 2023).
  • 4% of organisations said that diversity wasn’t important in 2022, compared to 10% in 2021.  (WorkDay, 2023).
  • 57% of UK businesses prioritise equality, diversity, and inclusion when recruiting. (Nigel Wright, 2022).
  • 56% of UK respondents report giving employees DEI training, and 44% take measures to encourage applicant diversity. (WorkDay, 2023).
  • LinkedIn reported a 71% rise in the number of diversity and inclusion-based job roles from 2015–2020.  (The Inclusivity Project, 2021).
  • However, only 17% of UK professionals track their DEI initiatives. (WorkDay, 2023).
  • Almost three out of four UK professionals say their organisation has a specific budget for DEI, while one in three plans to increase investment in DEI in the coming year. (WorkDay, 2023).
  • One in three UK professionals said their companies are investing in AI and other technologies with bias mitigation capabilities. (WorkDay, 2023).
  • 45% of UK professionals say they’re checking for unconscious bias or indirect discrimination in recruitment, compared with 34% globally. (WorkDay, 2023).

25 employee engagement and well-being statistics

The impact of quiet quitting continues to be felt in workspaces around the UK in 2024. Recent HR statistics suggest that employees are working fewer hours today than in 2019, and many are open to changing employers in the coming months, even as resignations decline.

  • 55+ million labour hours were lost between 2019 and 2022 as employees work for fewer hours throughout the day — though this reduction doesn’t necessarily equate to less overall productivity. (Hamilton et al., 2023).
  • Millennials account for 48.1% of labour hours lost and were the only generation to show a downward trend in hours worked between 2019 and 2022 regardless of gender. (Hamilton et al., 2023).
  • Employees with a degree worked 60 hours less in 2022 than in 2019, whereas those without a degree worked 6 hours less. (Hamilton et al., 2023).
  • One in three UK workers describe themselves as quiet quitters. (The HR Director, 2022).
  • The HR Director estimates that 14% of UK employees are ‘thrivers’, meaning they have a greater sense of ability to achieve goals (27%), find purpose in their work (26%), and are more resilient (14%). (The HR Director, 2022).
  • 53% of workers say they’re satisfied at work, 59% say they’re satisfied with their pay, and 67% say they’re satisfied with their workloads. (Michael Page, 2023).
  • However, 32% of employees say they’ve not gotten a pay raise in two years, and 80% of people didn’t receive a bonus last year. (Michael Page, 2023).

While some UK workers are eagerly looking for new job opportunities, others appear to be staying put, but not necessarily out of a sense of loyalty to their current employers.

  • By one count, 70% of workers have changed roles since the start of the pandemic. (Michael Page, 2023).
  • However, there were 322,000 resignations in the first quarter of 2023, declining from a peak of 442,000 in the second quarter of 2022. (Office of National Statistics, 2023d).
  • Meanwhile, 57% of people say they might reject a promotion if they believe it would have a negative impact on their wellbeing, a report by Michael Page (2023) suggests.
  • And a majority of UK workers see a good work-life balance as crucial to their job satisfaction: 57% of people with children and 61% of people without children. (Michael Page, 2023).
  • 43% of UK workers in 2023 agreed that having a job is just a means to make money and nothing more, rising from 36% in 2019. (Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development, 2023a).

So, how to UK employees feel in their current jobs?

  • According to Gallup (2023), the UK workforce was among the least engaged in Europe, with only one in ten UK employees reporting feeling engaged at work.
  • Conversely, around 50% of respondents say that time flies at work and 49% say they are enthusiastic about their job or feel immersed in their job. (Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development, 2023a).
  • 69% of employees think they provide a useful service to their employer, but only 48% believe their work is useful for society. (Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development, 2023a).
  • Under half (48%) of respondents believe their productivity is ‘above average’ or ‘well above average’. (Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development, 2023d).
  • 38% of employees in the UK felt stressed at work in 2023, a 2-point decrease from 2022. (Gallup, 2023).
  • One in five UK employees say they felt anger ‘a lot of the day’ yesterday, a 4% increase on the previous year. (Gallup, 2023).

Employee well-being appears to differ considerably between the public and private sectors.

  • 35% of public sector workers said that their work negatively impacted their mental health, while 25% of private sector workers felt the same way. (Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development, 2023a).
  • Close to half (42%) of public sector workers reported being overworked on a normal week, compared to less than a third (29%) of private sector workers. (Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development, 2023a).
  • While public sector workers in the UK may feel the most overworked, burnout is becoming more common globally, with an estimated 42% of the workforce experiencing it. (Future Forum, 2023).

In response, some employers are investing in employee care, but support is spotty.

  • Only half (53%) of organisations already have a standalone wellbeing strategy and fewer still (40%) have introduced new support since the start of 2022. (Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development, 2023b).
  • Health and wellbeing practices, such as mental health training, are becoming more popular, with 42% to 50% of employers providing them. (Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development, 2023d).
  • Some of the most common employee wellbeing benefits include employee assistance programmes (82%), access to a counselling service (77%), and occupational sick pay (69%). (Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development, 2023b).
  • However, only three in ten organisations train line managers in how to support people who return to work while managing health conditions. (Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development, 2023b).

8 HR statistics about employee retention, training, and performance management

With employees looking for higher pay, better support, and greater training opportunities, more managers are looking for ways to keep their workforce happy.

  • 36% of employers said that employee retention was their top HR priority in 2023, making it the top focus among surveyed organisations. (WorkBuzz, 2023).
  • 89% said that retention had gotten more difficult or remained the same. (WorkBuzz, 2023).
  • Nearly 66% of senior business leaders agree that employers should be supporting their staff through the rising cost of living. (Work Foundation, 2023).
  • However, 45% of employers said that ‘offering a competitive salary and benefits’ was one of the biggest retention challenges they currently face. (WorkBuzz, 2023).
  • 18.2% of employers gave above-standard increases in pay, shoring up employee pay against inflation. (Work Foundation, 2023).

Are employers upskilling their workforce?

  • The majority of employers have provided recent employee training, with just 6% saying that none of their workforce had received training in the past year and one in three reporting that 75%+ of their workforce had received recent training. (Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development, 2023d).
  • Over a quarter of employers said their people managers had received relevant training. Larger employers were more likely to deliver training, however. Around 12% of employers said their managers hadn’t been trained, most of whom were smaller organisations. (Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development, 2023d).
  • Furthermore, 88% of organisations had not provided digital skills training for employees, often because of the high cost involved. (Prospects, 2022a).

10 statistics about remote and hybrid work

A more flexible approach to work culture has taken hold across much of the UK, though travelling to work remains the norm for some employers and demographics.

  • 20–25% of workforces in advanced economies could work from home 3–5 days a week, over quadruple pre-COVID-19 levels. (McKinsey, 2023b).
  • Around 28% of UK workers engaged in hybrid working between September 2022 and January 2023. (Office of National Statistics, 2023a).
  • Hybrid working was reportedly most common in London, with 40% of workers both working from home and travelling to work. (Office of National Statistics, 2023a).
  • Younger workers were more likely to travel to work, with 79% of professionals aged 16–24 years travelling to work compared to 48% of professionals aged 34 to 44 years. (Office of National Statistics, 2023a).
  • Higher earners were also less likely to commute to office spaces, with 8 out of 10 professionals earning £50,000 or more reporting that they worked from home or had hybrid flexibility. (Office of National Statistics, 2023a).
  • Researchers have found a correlation between burnout and the level of flexibility employees have at work — employees who are dissatisfied with their job flexibility are 43% more likely to report feeling burnt out. (Future Forum, 2023).
  • Flexible workers were 57% more likely to believe their company culture had improved compared with fully in-person workers. (Future Forum, 2023).
  • 67% of workers say they prefer a hybrid working arrangement with the option to access a physical space. (Future Forum, 2023).

Even so, some are apprehensive about work-from-home culture.

  • 25% of executives believe that offering more flexibility in the office will negatively impact team culture. (Future Forum, 2023).
  • Meanwhile, a significant number of employees named collaboration (33%) and building camaraderie (23%) as two benefits of working in a physical office space. (Future Forum, 2023).

References

Seb Morgan
Written by

Seb Morgan

Seb Morgan is a Careers Coach and Digital Content Writer for CV Genius, where he helps job seekers and professionals get more out of their careers. With over 7 years of experience in business and lifestyle journalism, he's written for a stack of careers-focused publications, including Oxbridge Home Learning, Study International, theHRDirector, and Employee Benefit News, and his expertise includes skill development, interview preparation, and CV and cover letter writing. West Midlands born and raised, Seb has since lived, worked, and studied in 4 countries across 2 continents. He speaks 4 languages and has survived job interviews in 3 of them. He's currently based in Taipei, where he also freelances as a travel and culture writer. Reach him at [sebastian] @ [cvgenius.com] or via LinkedIn.