ResearchEmployee exodus over Covid jabs and hybrid working likely – says CMI research

A picture of a divided post-pandemic workplace, troubled by fear and mistrust has emerged in a poll of UK managers.
Content Team3 years ago7 min

The findings of the poll conducted by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) published this month make for a sober read, as the UK recovers from news of a Government decision to delay the planned ‘Freedom Day’ of 21 June.

24% of managers would refuse to work with the unjabbed and untested

Almost a quarter of managers polled (24%)(i) say they would only work with those who had been double jabbed, with Baby Boomers(ii) (33%) more likely than Generation Z and Millennials (19%) to say they would only share a working space with colleagues who have received both doses of the vaccine. Just over one in five (22%) of the managers who took part in the poll indicated that they would share a workplace with those who had not been vaccinated or taken a lateral flow test. Of the remaining respondents, 8% of managers were prepared to work with those who had at a minimum received one vaccination and 6% of managers said they did not know.

Exodus expected?

Meanwhile, says the CMI which counts over 163,000 managers and leaders in its membership community, 40% of managers said they would be prepared to work with those who had not been vaccinated but had had a negative lateral flow test. Managers are also concerned about a staff exodus if employees are unable to retain some form of flexible working, with nearly half (48%) fearing that team members could quit if they were not allowed to continue working remotely once restrictions ease.

These findings correlate with the findings of a survey carried out last month in the US by Morning Consult on behalf of Bloomberg News which found that 39% of adults(iii) would consider quitting if their employers weren’t flexible about remote work. According to CMI’s latest research, Gen Z and Millennials (44%) were more likely than Baby Boomers (30%) to say they would look for a new role if their employer did not allow staff to work remotely or from home.

Managers trust scientific experts more than Government or their own employers

The desire to continue remote working is mirrored in the attitudes of managers themselves with (40%) saying they would likely look for a new job if they could no longer work from home once restrictions ease. More than half (56%) of managers want to work just 1-2 days a week in the workplace and almost three quarters (74%) were not yet concerned that their organisation may consider reducing their salary if they continued to work from home after restrictions were lifted.

The survey also found there is little trust in either employers or Government regarding return to workplace safety. An overwhelming majority of managers (71%) said they trusted scientific advisors rather than employers (14%) or Government (9%) regarding the matter.

‘Lack of trust’

“The results also reveal a lack of trust in both employers and the Government regarding workplace safety and the real possibility of an employee exodus if the wishes of workers are not respected,” says Ann Francke, Chief Executive of CMI.

“Employers must develop flexible, inclusive and tolerant ways of working as we return to the workplace. We’ve created a Better Manager’s Roadmap, which is designed to help employers with this. Failure to adapt to these new challenges, risks creating health cliques in the workplace and an unprecedented employee brain drain – neither of which are acceptable.”

To download the Better Manager’s Roadmap: Reflect, Reskill, Rebuild visit:

Poll Methodology and References

  • i. The core findings in this release were sourced from a Manager’s Voice survey conducted between 28 May and 2 June 2021. A total of 1,239 UK-based managers responded. The Managers Voice is a bimonthly survey of all paying CMI members. The findings relate to practising managers in employment in the UK.
  • ii. Although we cannot map perfectly to the Generations due to age brackets, we classify Gen Z as 24 and under, millennials as 25 – 44, Gen X as 45 – 54 and Baby Boomers as 55+. Millennials and Gen Z were grouped together due to low bases for Gen Z
  • iii. The Morning Consult survey was carried out on behalf of Bloomberg News in the US in May 2021 and surveyed 1,000 adults,

Content Team

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