One in five employees resigned from their job in 2017, up from just shy of 16 per cent in 2016.

According to the latest data from XpertHR, labour turnover statistics from 398 organisations show the resignation rate has increased steadily since 2012, when it stood at just 10.6 per cent.

The biggest change in turnover rates was in manufacturing and production. The average voluntary resignation rate increased from 11.7 per cent in 2016 to 18.9 per cent, and the median from 10.5 per cent to 14.3 per cent. Looking at total labour turnover – which includes retirements and dismissals - across all sectors, the figures have moved from an average of 17.4 per cent to 21.5 per cent, and a median of 15 per cent to 19.2 per cent.

With the employment rate at its highest since comparable records began in 1971 – standing at 75.7 per cent according to the Government's Labour Force Survey – employers are going to feel the squeeze of a tight labour market. This provides challenges for employers to maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of their recruitment procedures, while also ensuring they focus on retention and productivity.

In its report, XpertHR also included data on voluntary resignation rates and total labour turnover rates for employees with less than 12 months' service. The data showed that an average of more than one in 10 new starters resigned before completing 12 months' service, while an average of 12.7 per cent left either voluntarily or due to dismissal.

XpertHR senior HR practice editor Noelle Murphy said: “Employers should pay special attention to labour turnover for new starters with less than 12 months' service as consistently high levels of turnover can be a strong indication of issues in the recruitment and selection processes as well as the onboarding exercises in place.

“There is also a higher cost implication for employers with ongoing churn among new starters, more so than for those with longer service. Alongside resources, consistent levels of turnover among new starters will have a negative ripple effect on employee engagement among all employees.”