A staggering 4.5m Brits are considering moving overseas for a better quality of life, as a result of the cost of living crisis and for better career opportunities.
In fact, over 3.4m UK working adults say moving outside of the UK is a long-term goal of theirs, while 3 per cent admit they are actively planning to relocate either in the next year or the next two years, that equates to an immediate exodus of over 380,000 UK workers.
The percentage of those looking to move abroad rises substantially among UK adults aged between 18-24 that are not in retirement (30 per cent), compared to 17 per cent of those aged 25-34, according to extensive research by Totaljobs.
The numbers are also particularly high among those living in London (23 per cent) indicating a potential talent drain for the capital.
When asked about the reasons for considering a move abroad, the top four reasons given were; a better quality of life (64 per cent), the cost of living in the UK (43 per cent), a desire to travel more (43 per cent), better career opportunities within their desired industry (20 per cent).
Hiring from abroad
Against this backdrop, half of businesses (52 per cent) have stated that they are planning to hire from outside of the UK within the next year. Almost a third have already increased their overseas hiring since Covid, so since March 2020.
However, the research highlights the various challenges businesses are facing when it comes to international hiring.
The first main challenges lie with practicalities and logistics of global hiring, with 39 per cent stating that Visa flexibility and availability was an issue; almost a quarter of businesses have gone so far as to call on the government to ease visa restrictions when it comes to hiring.
Over a third have also highlighted the challenge of associated costs to the business.
The second major factor is the attractiveness and perception of the UK for international workers, with 39 per cent saying that overseas workers being less willing to relocate to the UK for work.
Flexibility remains key
Amidst the challenges facing recruitment and retention, workers are actively seeking greater flexibility with their working arrangements.
Brits increasingly expect flexibility as a given, with some going so far as to say they’d be more likely to continue working for their employer if they were able to work overseas as part of their current job (18 per cent). That same percentage would also like the option of working overseas for an extended period of time.
Moreover, 1 in 10 UK workers have already carried out their current job in a different location to where they are typically based this year and 1 in 10 would take a job where they could work from anywhere, even if that meant a lower salary.
These demands are being felt by employers, with 15 per cent of businesses already receiving increased requests to work from anywhere, while 15 per cent are getting questions about 4 day working weeks. 26 per cent of businesses have reported an increase in questions regarding flexible working at interview stage.
“Businesses continue to face a uniquely competitive recruitment landscape, with skills shortages and staff retention remaining top challenges. These trends look set to continue; particularly as younger people in particular are more likely to turn to opportunities overseas,” Jon Wilson, CEO at Totaljobs, told City A.M. this afternoon.
“Meanwhile, those who remain are expecting a greater degree of flexibility to work where they want. These challenges, compounded by the difficulties of hiring internationally, have the potential to exacerbate the critical drain on talent in the UK,” he said.
“Employers should consider their offering for international candidates and how they can compete on a global scale.”Jon Wilson
“That could be giving workers greater flexibility to work anywhere they want in the world or developing relocation packages to hire people currently based overseas.”
He added: “Of course, there are associated challenges involved at a policy level that can restrict plans, even while some businesses look to increase their international recruitment.”
Challenges to recruit and retain
The results of the so-called Totaljobs Hiring Trends Index offes a view of the labour market and recruitment trend and, found that challenges to recruit and retain staff remain, compounded with a potential talent drain as workers consider opportunities overseas for a better quality of life amongst the cost of living crisis.
The research found that 79 per cent of businesses recruited in Q2 2022, a slight increase on the 78 per cent reported in the previous quarter.
The top three roles recruited for this quarter were operations (29), IT/tech (22 per cent) and sales (18 per cent), with 6.7 weeks being the average time taken to hire a new role, an increase of 2 weeks compared to the previous quarter (4.3 weeks).
Looking ahead to the next quarter, 50 per cent of businesses are confident they will recruit the people they need; a dip compared to 54 per cent in Q1.
Skills shortages and staff retention remain the top two issues facing businesses heading into Q3, followed by labour shortages, and helping staff to manage workload.