Labour turnover falls as workers decide to sit tight

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  • Labour turnover fell to 14% last year – down from 16% in 2015
  • Biggest drop is seen amongst manual workers where turnover has fallen from 17% to 12% year-on-year
  • EEF says a range of factors are contributing to the number of workers sitting tight in their current roles.

Labour turnover has fallen year-on-year as workers and employers respond to a range of economic and socio-economic factors, according to the latest Annual Labour Turnover data from EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation.

The data shows that labour turnover – people leaving companies through resignation, redundancy, retirement or dismissal – fell last year to 14% from 16% in 2015. The biggest drop can be seen amongst manual workers, where turnover has fallen from 17% to 12% year-on-year.

Smaller firms are seeing the lowest levels of staff turnover, with those employing 50 or under seeing 10% churn compared to 17% for larger employers (251+ employees). The South West boasts the lowest labour turnover in Great Britain, at just 10%.

Lee Hopley, Chief Economist at EEF, says: “These turnover figures reflect a number of diverse economic factors affecting employees and employers alike last year. These range from workers wanting to sit tight because of Brexit uncertainty through to firms looking to hold onto people in order to capitalise on the export boom coming from the weaker pound and stronger outlook in overseas markets.

“What we do know is that with staff wanting to stick around for longer, firms need to keep a close eye on productivity levels and ensure that they have the right culture and processes in place to keep employees motivated and focussed.”

The full report can be accessed here.

EEF’s team of HR consultants can assist employers with any aspect of recruitment and engagement strategies, from succession planning to developing a bespoke competency framework. Find out more here.



Jo Ganly-Hilaire: Tel 0207 654 1530, email

Notes to editors:

The Labour Turnover survey is based on the period from 1 January to 31 December 2016 and is based on responses from 236 organisations, employing a total of 48,267 employees.


Media Team 020 7654 1576

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