Over a third (37%) of workers have admitted to taking steps to ‘prepare to look for another job’.

Career Cushioning – the process of being proactive about your career prospects to ‘soften the blow’ should anything go wrong with your current job – is a phenomenon that recruitment firm Robert Walters believes has grown in prominence as the UK continues to hover around the recessionary danger zone.

According to a poll of 2,000 white-collar workers, the leading reasons causing workers to ‘career cushion’ is a lack of job security from their company (72%), turbulent economic conditions (55%), internal changes within their business (45%), and low job satisfaction (33%).

Chris Poole, Managing Director of Robert Walters, comments: “This survey highlights how acutely aware professionals are of the difficulties organisations are currently facing due to challenging economic conditions – hence the rise of ‘career cushioning’ tactics as a protective measure.  

“Staff retention needs to be top of all employers list at the moment to ensure that employees don’t actually take the final step of applying for other roles. On the other side, my advice to professionals is to not be blind – if you are concerned about job security in any way then my advice would be to prepare for finding a new role sooner rather than later.

“Start with some very simple steps such as updating your LinkedIn profile, sign up to job alerts, and refresh your CV.” When asked what type of tactics workers were taking to create a ‘career cushion’ – monitoring the jobs market (66%) and ‘tidying up’ their CV (43%) came out on top.

Most common tactics for ‘career cushioning’

Monitoring jobs market


CV prep


Networking more


Applying for jobs


Upskilling / Training


Working with Career Coach or Recruiter


Adopting side-hustle


Interestingly, a quarter of professionals admitted that their perusal of the jobs market and self-assessment of their skills has led them to appreciate their employer more – with a further fifth admitting that they have discovered their current employer pays better than the market average.

Chris adds: “Career cushioning needn’t always be looked at as a negative by employers, in many cases it can lead to employees upskilling, being more determined to succeed or engaging in more networking - bringing greater value to the business.

“There is no guarantee that those that “career cushion” will leave, it’s an old adage but employees researching opportunities elsewhere can often illustrate to them that the grass isn’t always greener.”