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Cost-of-living Crisis Forces a Quarter of the British Workforce to Change Careers

Cost-of-living Crisis Forces a Quarter of the British Workforce to Change Careers

Research from ClickUp reveals the impact of rising living costs and the need for greater productivity to attract and retain talent

Key findings:

  • The cost-of-living crisis is forcing 26% of the UK workforce (7.7 million people) to change careers for better pay.
  • The top drivers for this are fears over the rising cost of energy, everyday living goods, and wages not rising fast enough.
  • 68% of those planning to change careers aim to do so in the next 6 months, putting pressure on businesses to retain and attract workers.
  • This will be felt most in the IT and hospitality sectors, each with 39% of workers saying they plan to change jobs.
  • A link between highly productive businesses and higher wages suggests improving productivity could be the key to attract and retain talent

LONDON, November 17, 2022 — ClickUp, the productivity platform that brings work together in one place, has released a major study revealing the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on the UK’s workforce. It found that 26% (7.7m million) of people are planning to change jobs as a direct result of the crisis. With 68% of these people looking to do so within the next 6 months, the UK is set to face unprecedented upheaval as people look for better-paying jobs. 

The data reveals how British workers are being forced into this position, with 88% (26.1 million people) unsure whether their current job can sustain them through the cost-of-living crisis. Significantly, 42% (12.5m) say it has put a lot of pressure on them to earn more. The top drivers for this sentiment were the rising cost of energy (31%), the rising cost of everyday living goods (30%), and wages not rising fast enough (16%). The recent sharp drop in the value of the pound was also cited by 4% of people.

In addition, the data offers an insight into how businesses can proactively manage the issue of workers leaving for higher-paid jobs, establishing a link between those who are best protected from the cost-of-living crisis and those working in highly productive organisations. Ultimately, the more productive businesses are, the more profitable they will be, and the more they can pay their staff.

Natasha Wallace, International People Operations Partner, at ClickUp said: “The cost-of-living crisis will significantly impact employee turnover as people will look for higher paying jobs to try and offset the higher costs they are faced with. Retaining and attracting top talent is now an even higher priority for businesses across the country. Offering competitive pay is increasingly more important, however in order to do this businesses need to be as efficient and profitable as possible, which is driven by improved productivity. A more productive workplace also enables employers to further invest in and empower employees; for example, financial and well-being workshops, enhanced benefits, and career development, which can all help manage the concerns around the cost-of-living crisis. 

Britain Braces for Worker Turnover and Worker Shortages

Britain is set for high levels of worker turnover and potential worker shortages. ClickUp’s research reveals that some people are looking for higher paying jobs within their same industry or skillset, while others are looking to leave their field entirely to start a new career

Businesses in the IT and hospitality industries are set to feel the most disruption in general – each with 39% of their workforces saying they plan to change jobs. Those with employees working as drivers (36%), in business services (33%), and construction (33%) will also be significantly affected. Of these people, 44% of IT professionals are looking for roles in the same field, indicating a relatively high degree of staff turnover within the industry, compared to only 20% of hospitality workers.

However, this still leaves a significant number of IT professionals wanting to leave their role or field entirely, with 16% of those looking for higher-paid jobs seeking managerial and other senior positions and 11% considering becoming finance professionals. Yet this pales in comparison to hospitality, which could see an exodus of employees moving away from the industry, with healthcare and social work (20%) and administrative roles (17%) their most likely destinations.

Productivity Provides a Solution

A major difference between those who are looking for better-paid jobs as a result of the cost-of-living crisis, and those who aren’t, is whether they work in a highly productive organisation. Of those who believe their employer ranks high in productivity, 57% say they are not looking for a higher-paid job, which is 11% above the national average of 46%. This drops to 39% (7% below the national average) for those who believe their employer ranks low in productivity. 

In addition, 19% of those who believe their employer ranks high in productivity said they were completely confident that their current job can sustain them through the cost-of-living crisis. This is 7% above the national average of 12%. In comparison, only 8% of people who believe their employer ranks low in productivity are completely confident (4% below the national average).

Organisations with high productivity levels are better positioned to provide more competitive salaries to their staff, as their workforce provides comparatively high levels of output for the hours they put in. This makes a business more efficient and profitable as a result and could be the key to attracting and retaining talent in the current climate.

Natasha Wallace continues: “The cost-of-living crisis is significantly reshaping the UK workforce and what candidates are looking for in new roles. People are reevaluating their current jobs on a massive scale, however, businesses can proactively manage this. There is a clear link between high productivity and higher wages; by directly addressing and improving their own productivity, businesses can ultimately increase employee satisfaction and begin to pass the financial benefits on to their employees should they wish to do so.”


  • The survey was conducted by Sapio Research in October 2022 among 2,282 individuals across the UK in a variety of occupations.
  • In this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 2.1 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.
  • According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, there are 29.7 million payrolled employees in the UK. This has been used to calculate the number of people given throughout this press release e.g. ‘The cost-of-living crisis is forcing 26% of the UK workforce (7.7m million people) to change careers for better pay’.

About ClickUp

ClickUp is the world’s only all-in-one productivity platform that flexes to the way people want to work. It replaces all individual workplace productivity tools with a single, unified platform that includes project management, document collaboration, whiteboards, spreadsheets, and goals. Founded in 2017 and based in San Diego, ClickUp is on a mission to make the world more productive. As one of the fastest-growing SaaS companies in the world, ClickUp has helped more than 800,000 teams and millions of users lead a more productive life and save at least one day every week. To learn more, visit

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