Research perspectives

Survey finds ‘toxic culture’ a reason to resign for one in five staff

A survey by the HR software provider Breathe has reported that 21% of UK workers left their job last year due to ‘toxic workplace culture”. According to their ‘Culture Economy 2020’ report this could be costing the UK economy £15.7 billion per year.

Opinium Research ran the online survey with a nationally representative sample of 2,003 UK adults in January 2020.

Women were more likely (23%) to leave their job for this reason than men (18%) and 18 to 34-year-olds had a higher percentage of such resignations (23.5%) compared to those aged over 35. The technology sector showed the highest number of leavers (36%). A majority of employees (57%) said senior management had handled the situation poorly, with women especially likely to be disappointed.

London had a particular problem with workplace cultures and especially with bullying and harassment at work. Almost half (48%) of London employees reported experience of harassment in the last 12 months, while 36% of Londoners left a job due to poor company culture.

Despite these results the report notes that the percentage of employees leaving their company for this reason is down 13% compared to 2018, although somewhat perversely those positively trusting their management is also down 16%.