POSTED: January 14 2016
ADVO Group interviews Thomas Bale, Investors in People

ADVO Group interviews Thomas Bale, Investors in People

Investors in People (IIP) is the well-known Standard for people management, working with thousands of top businesses across the country. The organisation recently released its ‘Job Exodus Trends 2016’ report which uncovered that many employees plan to find new jobs in 2016 as a result of discontentment with their current employers. In this latest interview, Thomas Bale, Assistant Director at IIP, provides some further insight into this report, discussing what areas of employment most workers would like to see changed and the key improvements managers and employers can undertake.

Your new report ‘Job Exodus Trends 2016’ found that almost half the UK workforce will be looking for a new job in 2016. What are some of the key factors that you think have led to this being such a high figure?

Our report has uncovered many key factors for employees looking to move jobs. Employees across the country are complaining of high workloads (19%), nearly a quarter are concerned by a lack of career progression (23%) and over a quarter are unhappy with their levels of pay (27%), these are all factors that prompt a potential mass exodus.

The report also found that nearly a third of workers were ‘miserable’ in their jobs. Do you think this is a relatively recent development or do you think the report has uncovered a strong disillusionment that has been prevalent for quite some time?

This is the third year that we have run this survey and happiness levels have increased very slightly this year. Therefore this is not necessarily a ‘recent’ development, I think many of these issues, such as poor management, have been prevalent for quite some time.

One of the key points highlighted from the report was that an increased salary was a less attractive option to employees than ‘non-remuneration benefits’. Did this surprise you at all?

Not massively, with increased salaries over recent months, it is clear that pay is less of a gripe for UK workers. But longstanding issues around poor management and how valued people feel in their work continue to make UK workers miserable, suggesting there is more to be done by employers.

What were cited as being some of the most sought after alternatives to pay increases? Did this vary between different age groups etc?

A third (34%) of employees said they would prefer a more flexible approach to working hours than a 3% payrise, nearly a third (28%) said they would rather have a clear career progression route and a quarter (24%) would rather their employer invested in their training and development more. Interestingly, over a quarter (26%) of 18-24 year olds said they felt they had no clear career progression in their current role.

How best do you think UK businesses can address the core cultural and managerial problems that are currently causing so many employees such discontentment?

I would urge businesses to address the factors highlighted in the ‘Job exodus trends 2016’ report. Simple actions can make all the difference. When asked what one thing their employer could do to increase their happiness in their current role, one in 8 (13%) just wanted to be told ‘thank you’ more, nearly 1 in 10 (9%) would prefer more flexible working hours and 1 in 16 (6%) simply wanted more clarity on what their career progression options are. Therefore, it is clear that small steps could help to address these bigger issues.

Do you think we are likely see an improvement in management and workplace culture over the course of the next year?

I would hope that many employers will take these statistics as a stark wakeup call and take action as soon as possible. It is clear that if businesses do not invest in their staff they risk them losing them in 2016. Poor management issues are longstanding, although there are some simple solutions that can be taken according to employees. Our 2017 Job Exodus Trends report launched next January will be the true test as to whether action is taken.

What effects do you think the shape of the UK economy will have over the issues highlighted in the report over the next twelve months?

As mentioned previously, if the economy remains stable and salaries continue to grow at a steady rate, it is likely that pay will be less of a gripe for workers and consequently they will be looking for other qualities in their ideal employer. Similarly a continuing growing jobs market may mean movement is likely, therefore employers need to take action to ensure they retain their best talent.

2016 has been widely cited as the year that will see the candidate have the power within the jobs market with employers needing to work harder to attract the best talent. How strongly do you agree with this?

With 49% of people keeping an eye out for other job opportunities in 2016; it suggests that people are clearly more confident in the economy and are thinking about either changing careers or finding better roles elsewhere. According to ONS figures the UK’s unemployment rate has also dropped to a record low for 7 years, suggesting the jobs market is stronger than ever. Therefore I do believe the candidate has a large amount of power in 2016, consequently employers need to step up and do more to invest in their people to attract and retain the best.

What are some of the other core human resource issues that you think will play a major role in 2016?

I think the gender debate is another key HR issue that will continue to play a major role this year. With the pledge for parity campaign and predictions that the gender gap won’t close entirely until 2133, this is a key issue that employers clearly need to wake up to.


ADVO became one of the few UK employers to achieve the standard Investors in People qualification in 2004 and has since worked hard to become one of only 2% of IIP accredited businesses to achieve Silver, which was awarded in 2014.

For more information on Investors in People visit