Job satisfaction in the UK has dropped to its lowest level for over two years and job-seeking intentions have risen to almost a quarter (24%) of employees - a two and a half year high, according to the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development.

Although wider global economic uncertainty has likely shaken the labour market, the world of work is changing too, and organisations therefore need to rethink their approach to employee career management, in order to engage and retain staff, the CIPD warned.

The survey of more than 2,000 workers in the UK found that job satisfaction has fallen across all sectors, with a net score of 40 compared with 48 in Autumn last year, but particularly in the private sector. Employees in micro businesses have the highest levels of job satisfaction (49), but still marks a significant drop in satisfaction from late last year (76).

Exploring a range of employee issues that could affect job satisfaction, the CIPD/Halogen survey finds that almost a fifth (23%) of employees believe their organisation’s performance management processes are unfair (an increase from 20% in Autumn 2015). Over a quarter (27%) are dissatisfied with the opportunity to develop their skills in their job and this is reflected in the number of employees who say they are unlikely to fulfil their career aspirations in their current organisation, which has also increased to 36% (32% in Autumn 2015).

Claire McCartney, research adviser for resourcing and talent planning at the CIPD, said: “Today’s research shows that our approaches to job design and career management have not kept pace with the rapidly changing world of work or with employee expectations. Although many organisations are flatter in structure and have adopted matrix ways of working, this can mean routes for career progression are not as clear. Despite wider global economic uncertainty, employers need to think of new ways to keep their employees engaged and committed..

“Organisations therefore need to redefine their approach to careers in the light of this new context in order to future-proof their workforce. They need to think about career growth in a more holistic way, rather than traditional, hierarchical progression, and instead give employees opportunities for a breadth of diverse experiences and opportunities that maximise their skills and their employability going forward.”