UK companies are having to work harder to keep hold of their top talent as employees are more likely to ‘jump ship’ with buoyancy in the jobs market increasing, according to new research from leading recruiter Adecco.

The research into workplace poaching reveals that over half (51%) of UK workers have had at least one ex-colleague attempt to poach them after they left for a new employer. Of those who had been approached, over a quarter (27%) accepted the offer.

The trend is most prevalent in the capital, with two thirds (65%) of London workers having been approached by an ex-colleague, and amongst Gen Y, with over a third (35%) of 20-28-year-olds having been successfully poached.

The research indicates a wider problem amongst UK employers, with nearly half (45%) of workers stating that they believe their employer has an employee retention problem.

The trend isn’t slowing down, as over half (52%) of workers said that they are planning to change their job in the next two years.

Alex Fleming, Managing Director of Adecco Retail, said: “It is fantastic to see a healthier jobs market emerging in the UK but it does bring with it fresh challenges for employers. Candidate poaching is a growing issue as employees move to roles in competitive companies and encourage their colleagues to do the same.

“Candidate poaching should act as a wakeup call for employers to address their employee retention issues. They should consider ways to ensure their workplace is an attractive and engaging place to work, be that through effective team building or a clearer approach to communication.

“Whilst poaching is a common problem, it can also be a symptom of wider issues in a company. Weak management, low levels of pay and bad team fit all contribute to an unhappy worker who is more likely to jump on an opportunity if an ex-worker serves it to them on a plate.”