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Early retirement brings more stress to skills strapped firms

Mattie Storin - Recruitment Correspondent

A third of Brits would rather be happy and unemployed than work in a job that made them unhappy, according to a huge international poll undertaken by recruiter Randstad UK. The poll, which saw 15,750 people surveyed across the continent of Europe, asked workers in 15 countries if they would rather be unemployed than unhappy in their job. 

More than a third (34 per cent) of Brits agreed with the statement “I would rather be unemployed than unhappy in a job” — and Brits were more likely to agree than 13 of the nationalities polled. Workers in Italy, Greece, and Spain were all less likely to prefer unemployment than workers in the UK with only 16 per cent of workers in Luxembourg saying the same.  At the other end of the spectrum, the French were the most likely to embrace unemployment with 35 per cent saying they would rather be unemployed than malheureux at work.   

Victoria Short, the chief executive of Randstad UK, says: “Most employers are worried about their top talent jumping ship.  In the UK, they might find themselves with another rival – unemployment.  While that might sound flippant, there’s a genuine point here.  Participation rates are falling and this is a serious problem for the country and our national talent pool.  Since the start of the pandemic, for instance, almost a quarter of a million Brits aged between 50 and 65 have left their jobs and aren’t looking for new ones.  

“No wonder firms are turning to happiness officers to perk up staff – they’re right to be spending time and money trying to make staff happy.  Employers need to ensure employees are surrounded by great colleagues and are working well together.  If they don’t, employers will find themselves running out of talent very rapidly. 

“From an employee’s point of view, the job market is white hot.  If you don’t like your current role, put your money where your mouth is,  vote with your feet, and get a new job that stands a chance of fulfilling you professionally.”

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