Employers aren’t doing enough to help staff keep up with the cost of inflation

The bosses of Britain’s biggest companies will have made more money in 2022 by breakfast time on Friday than the average UK worker will earn in the entire year, according to analysis of the vast gap in pay between FTSE 100 chief executives and everyone else.

Nearly three quarters of Brits say they do not feel that their employer has adequately kept up with the cost of inflation.

When asked how they plan to handle the rising cost of living in the next 12 months, over two in five Brits say that they feel they could be forced to find alternative ways of making money if their workplace does not do more to support them. Some employees said that they plan to hand in their notice at work to take on a new role offering a higher salary or increase their value with their own employer by showing them they could get a job somewhere else.

Keeping pace with the rising cost of living

The survey, conducted by people analytics company Visier, reveals that fearful Brits expressed concerns with paying their energy bills, rent or mortgage and paying for food.

The vast majority of respondents agreed that household incomes simply cannot keep up with the rising cost of living. And, as the cost of living continues to rise, 79% said that they think their employer has an obligation to support them in managing this.

Tackling ‘reverse retention’ challenges

The data suggests that increasing living costs have led to a growing trend in ‘reverse retention’ tactics whereby employees would consider attempting to get an employer to improve their employment package by threatening to leave.In fact, when asked the percentage salary increase they’d expect if handing in their notice in order to negotiate a pay rise, a quarter said they’d be looking for a 9-10% salary rise.

And, despite 79% of respondents admitting to having never done this before, the data suggests that it’s not just salary concerns that appear to be driving Brits to threaten to quit.

Almost three in five respondents do not feel guilty about planning to hand in their notice in order to improve their employment package. When asked why they do not feel guilty, needing money to pay energy bills, an alternative employer might pay more and the most competitive recruitment market in a generation were cited as the main reasons.

Alongside these concerns with the rising cost of living – including record high gas prices – employees also highlighted the financial benefits to working from home, which included saving money on commuting and saving money on buying lunch at work.
For employers, it’ll be important to recognise that as prices continue to soar, employees will be looking to their employers for ways to support them in cutting back on costs and flourishing in the workplace. It’ll therefore be critical to start thinking about retention tactics now in order to get ahead of employees’ resignation letters – or negotiation tactics – before they arise.

The good news is that respondents said that if their employer offered flexible or hybrid working schemes, more learning and development initiatives and a bonus scheme,they would be less likely to employ “reverse retention” tactics.

“An increasingly competitive labour market, ongoing economic uncertainty and the rising cost of living are likely to continue to fuel employees confidence in threatening to go elsewhere if their workplace package is not up to scratch”, said Ian McVey, MD EMEA at Visier. “To get ahead of this trend – and support employees during these particularly turbulent times- business leaders must find the answer within the people data the business is operating with. For example, keeping abreast of employee sentiment and implementing robust employee experience strategies can create a picture of what it is like to work at a company, and how employees are feeling. Empowering line managers, and HR teams with these insights can help businesses to not only place more emphasis on improving their retention strategy based on what the data is telling us that employees expect, but in supporting employees with the things they need in order to stay at the company”.