Six is the magic number for UK employees considering the best time to look for a new employer, according to the  ‘Job Satisfaction Index’ by specialist recruiter OfficeTeam, a Robert Half UK company. The index looks into work attitudes among full and part time employees and also reveals that the majority of UK workers have already been in their current role for six years, suggesting that there could soon be a groundswell of people looking for new opportunities.

This is underlined by the fact that almost a quarter (22%) of employees surveyed for the report say that they have stayed in their role for longer than they would have done in a better economic climate. Less than half (46%) said that they were happy in their role and did not look to change their jobs during the recession.

Job insecurity appears to have been worse in London where 36% of workers stayed in their jobs for longer than they would in better economic times as well as in Northern Ireland (34%). Workers were least worried about staying put in a job during the recession in the North East (14%) and North West (14%).

When asked which best applies to them during the economic climate since the recession:

I stayed in my role for longer than I would have in a better economic climate
London 36%
Northern Ireland 34%
Wales 24%
South East 22%
East Midlands 22%
Yorkshire and Humber 18%
Scotland 18%
East of England 18%
South West 17%
West Midlands 16%
North East 14%
North West 14%


Female and younger workers are less likely to have been in their current roles for long periods of time, with women having been in their present jobs for an average five years and 18-34 year olds for just four. More than half (55%) of workers aged 55+ have been in their role for over 10 years – double the average proportion (25%).

Workers are becoming less likely to stay in their first jobs for long periods of time, according to the research. While the average worker stayed in their first job for four years, 35-54 year olds stayed in their first job for five years and 18-34 year olds stayed for just three. In fact almost a fifth (19%) of 18-34 year olds stayed in their first job for less than a year.

Rachel Stockell, Senior Manager at OfficeTeam, commented: “The recession began six years ago and a quarter of respondents said they had stayed in their role longer than they would have done in better financial conditions. The double whammy of economic recovery and the natural tendency to change jobs at six year intervals is likely to herald a new war for talent as experienced staff become even more in demand than they are already.

“We are beginning to see a real shift from a buyer’s job market where employers have a wide choice of candidates to a seller’s market where employees can pick and choose. Employers should expect to compete for the best performers, and that includes their existing staff.”