Workers get itchy feet just over a year into a new job, a study finds | The Sun
26th January 2023

WORKERS get itchy feet around 18 months into a new job, according to research.

A study of 5,000 employed adults found just over year and a half marks the average point when employees come to realise exactly what their job prospects are – and whether it’s time to start thinking about pastures new.  

Not being valued for their contributions, feeling like they were being underpaid and working conditions starting to deteriorate are among the leading causes of itchy feet.

Nearly one in five (18 per cent) experienced job doubt when finding themselves working too many hours.

And once these workers started to develop feelings of frustration, they ramped up their job search, on average, within four months – and it typically took just over three months to land a new position.

Thankfully, over three-quarters (79 per cent) of those who left their jobs after getting itchy feet felt they definitely made the right move, with only three per cent saying the grass really wasn’t greener on the other side.


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Doug Rode, UK&I managing director at global recruitment specialist Michael Page, which commissioned the research, said: “Once the honeymoon period of a new job is over, it’s possible that you realise it wasn’t quite the right fit for you all along.

“When these thoughts start to manifest, it is only a matter of time before something has to give.

“There is nothing worse than being miserable in your job, so unhappy workers should address any concerns with their employer and attempt to find a solution.

“If feelings of frustration or unhappiness persist, perhaps it’s the right time to take rational action and embrace a new challenge.

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"The fact that just three per cent of respondents thought they were worse off in a new role after acting on itchy feet should empower people to make a positive career change.”

The study went on to find 22 per cent of workers are planning on seeking new employment within the first half of this year.

Nearly 23 per cent want to pursue different opportunities and 21 per cent feel like they have hit a ceiling with how far they can progress in their current role.

An additional 19 per cent are disgruntled about their current circumstances because there’s been no pay rise within the last 12 months.

On the other hand, 28 per cent of staff have had a welcome increase in their pay within the last three months as the cost of living has continued to squeeze household finances.

That said, 36 per cent admit they are concerned about their future finances despite still having some disposable income.

And a further 28 per cent claim their income just about covers their outgoings.

Despite many having concerns about their finances, over half (54 per cent) say they are not worried about being made redundant in the year ahead.

The research, which was conducted via OnePoll, went on to quiz employees about the perks they look for when on the job hunt – with the most popular (39 per cent) being an early finish on Fridays.

More than one in three (35 per cent) want to join an employer which offers opportunities to train, while a well-designed and equipped office environment is a bonus for 28 per cent.

When it comes to benefits within their contract, 52 per cent want a minimum of 28 days holiday and 46 per cent want a competitive company pension contribution.

While 43 per cent want progressive hybrid, flexible and remote working policies, and 27 per cent want good parental or family leave policies.

Doug Rode from Michael Page added: “Identifying what workers prioritise when looking for a new role is a useful tool for any company seeking not only to hire top talent but also retain their own.  

“Businesses need to ensure that their contractual benefits are fit for the modern working world – and that their ‘nice to have’ perks reflect the new, post-pandemic desires of workers across the country.

“From early finish Fridays and significant annual leave allowance through to staying competitive when it comes to pensions, there are numerous ways that employers can attract talent.

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“Thinking outside the box can be a great way to have an edge over the competition but often it's a case of getting the basics spot on and always keeping your benefits refreshed and up to date.”

Top ten reasons workers get itchy feet:

  • Not being valued for their contribution
  •  Being underpaid
  •  Working conditions had started to deteriorate
  •  Found the work too stressful
  • Wasn’t quite like how they expected when they accepted the job
  •  Wanted to peruse different opportunities
  •  Working too many hours
  •  Felt like they had hit a ceiling with how far they could progress
  •  Didn’t agree with changes being made from the top
  • Work was no longer challenging

Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected]

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