A podcast explaining this story using audio commentary and graphical animations is available on the ONS YouTube channel.
The number of people leaving their main job in April-June 2011 was 674,000, a drop of 42 per cent on the 1998 peak of 1.17 million. This decline suggests that the UK labour market is less dynamic now than in the past. In general, people are more likely to choose to leave their job voluntarily (for example, by resigning) rather than being made to leave their job involuntarily (for example, because they were made redundant).
In the 2nd quarter of 2011, 674,000 people left their main job, down from a peak of 1.17 million in 1998. In percentage terms, around 2.4 per cent of all workers in the workforce left their main job in 2011, down from 4.5 per cent in 1998.
Of the 674,000 people who left their main job in 2011:
A slowdown in the economy like that experienced in recent years in the UK will impact on the rate of people leaving or changing their job. For example, when job opportunities are limited there are fewer opportunities to move, people are often reluctant to change jobs and some people will become unemployed as businesses shed some of their workforce.
Over the fifteen year period between 1996 and 2011, people generally were more likely to leave their job voluntarily than involuntarily. However from the onset of the 2008-09 recession, the percentage of those choosing to leave their job and those being made to leave narrowed considerably. In the 2nd quarter of 2009 (the final quarter of the recession), the number of people leaving their main job on a voluntary basis was equivalent to the number leaving on an involuntary basis, both at 382,000, or 1.4 per cent of the total workforce.
The recent recession had the most impact on the rate of people leaving due to redundancy (an involuntary reason) and the rate of people resigning (a voluntary reason):
|Distribution, hotels and restaurants||5.0||4.1||0.7||1.1||2.1||1.3|
|Transport and communication||3.2||2.2||0.7||1.0||0.7||0.4|
|Banking and finance||3.2||3.4||0.4||1.5||1.1||0.7|
|Public admin, education and health||2.2||2.2||0.1||0.3||0.7||0.5|
Agriculture, forestry and fishing, and energy and water sectors are not shown because sample sizes for these sectors are too small to produce estimates.
Looking at the most recent data for 2nd quarter of 2011:
Analyses are on people aged 16 to 64.
The labour force survey asks respondents whether they have left their main job in the last three months, and if so, the reason why they have left. Respondents are to select from nine reasons: dismissed, made redundant/took voluntary redundancy, temporary job finished, resigned, gave up work for health reasons, took early retirement, retired (at or after state pension age), gave up for family or personal reasons, some other reason. The first three reasons are classified as involuntary whereas the remaining reasons are classified as voluntary. From Q1 2011 onwards, the category “education or training” was added to the list of reasons. In these analyses, this reason was grouped with “leaving for some other reason” for ease of comparison between time periods.
For each quarter, the job separation rate is expressed as a percentage of people how have left a main job within the last three months, over the number of people who have been in employment for three months or more and the number who have left in that quarter.
Data from LFS longitudinal datasets were used to analyse the percentage of workers who have left their job in private and public sectors, and also across industry sectors. The datasets used were 2-quarter longitudinal datasets covering Q1 (January – March) and Q2 (April – June) of each year. For these analyses, people who have left their main job in Q2 were first identified, and the sector they were working in (either public or private, or type of industry) was then determined based on their responses about their main job in Q1.
Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/index.html or from the Media Relations Office email: firstname.lastname@example.org
These National Statistics are produced to high professional standards and released according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.