In the UK, an average of 9.3% of employees resigned from their jobs in 2011, according to the latest XpertHR survey of labour turnover rates and costs.

This 2012 survey is based on 514 labour turnover statistics from 329 employers about the rates and costs of staff turnover for the 2011 calendar year.

The total labour turnover rate, which also includes reasons for leaving such as dismissals, redundancies and retirements, across the economy was 15.6%.

The survey also revealed variations in labour turnover patterns according to industry, region and occupation.
On average, the highest resignation rates in the economy were experienced by private-sector-services employers: 11.0% compared to 5.7% in manufacturing-and-production and 6.7% in the public-sector. The considerably higher level of voluntary employee departures in private-sector-services probably reflects the greater buoyancy in the labour market in this section of the economy.

“The private sector, overall, has been quicker to recover from the continuing harsh economic climate,” says Rachel Suff, XpertHR author of the report. “The public sector, in contrast, is now bearing the brunt of austerity measures and spending cuts; it is not surprising that people working in the public-sector are typically more worried about job security and less likely to seek new employment opportunities compared to employees based in private-sector-services.”

It should also be noted that some of the gaps in staff turnover rates between different industries of a sector are greater than the variations between broad sectors. For example, within private-sector-services, average total labour turnover rates range from 11.3% in transport and communications to 20% in retail and wholesale – a gap of 8.7 percentage points. The corresponding rates for the three broad sectors are more closely bunched, at between 10.9% for manufacturing-and-production and 18% for private-sector-services (13% for the public sector) – a gap of 7.1 percentage points.

“Since the end of 2008, the ongoing recession has had an uneven impact across the economy and there are many factors influencing both staff resignations and total labour turnover levels within individual organisations besides which industry they are operating within,” says Rachel Suff.