One-Fourth of the Workforce Could be Changing Jobs by Summer’s End

Posted By Terri Williams on July 10, 2017 at 11:08 am
One-Fourth of the Workforce Could be Changing Jobs by Summer’s End

Many U.S. employees believe the grass is greener on the other side – and they’re prepared to ditch their current jobs to find out. A new report by Spherion Staffing reveals that 25 percent of workers plan to look for a new job sometime in the next three months. It gets worse: 35% of workers plan on changing jobs sometime in the next year.

Given those wandering eyes, perhaps it should come as no surprise that 20% of employers have replaced nearly half of their staff in the last 12 months.

Contributing factors for changing jobs

So, what’s fueling this desire for changing jobs? Workers are pinning their hopes on a much more favorable job market.

  • 49 percent agree that their ability to find a new job has increased significantly over last year.

Peg Newman, partner at Sanford Rose Associates/Newman Group, tells GoodCall®, “When times are more challenging economically, people tend to be less likely to make a change – or consider a new job – fearing they may not have many options, if, after making a change to a new employer, it isn’t as advertised.”

But Newman says a favorable job market makes workers more likely to consider other career options. “With the current demand and the huge shift in unemployment across the national stage and in specific industries and states, people are more confident that the risk isn’t that great.”

Salary plays a crucial role in the decision to leave:

  • 20% cited compensation as the primary reason they plan to explore their professional options – this was the top reason for leaving.
  • 35% of workers believe that although they accepted a lower salary when they started their current role, they should be paid more today.
  • 20% of workers say their employers have reduced their benefits package in the last year.

Companies concede there’s a wage issue but don’t plan to change compensation plans:

  • 62% of surveyed companies say they recognize a need to pay higher wages to remain competitive but simply cannot afford to do so.
  • 74% also note that their competitors are raising wages to attract top talent.
  • Regarding gender pay, 82% of employers believe they offer equal pay for work regardless of gender, but only 54% of employees feel the same way.

Newman believes that salary and career advancement are important. “I know a candidate who has increased her salary from $42,000 to $70,000 in about 4 years, due to the demand in her industry and for her particular skill set – I expect to see her increase significantly more with her next pay increase.”

But, Newman also believes employees want to gain skills and experience as much – or even more – than they want more money. “I am also seeing that companies are more open to people leaving them for more experience and also to leaving the door open to them to boomerang at a higher level in the organization.”

This is consistent with the survey’s findings that 38 percent of workers are concerned that they’re lagging in acquiring new skills needed for the future. Also, 37% don’t think they can get a promotion with their current skills.

However, Newman believes that one of the top two reasons people have for changing jobs is either their boss or their company’s culture. Her comments are in line with a study that found toxic workplaces were on the rise, and noted that 24% of employees have quit a job because it was an uncivil workplace.

Jessica Adams, a Central Florida-based certified workforce development professional, agrees that there are other concerns, besides money, that are driving employees to the door. “Employee attrition increases as job seekers look for the company who has the better deal,” Adams says.

“The better deal isn’t elusively a high wage salary, but an employer who provides continual professional and personal development opportunities.”

In addition, Adams tells GoodCall®, “Companies who make their staff feel valued and fulfilled have higher employee retention rates.” In fact, “feeling undervalued” was the top non-financial reason listed by employees who were seeking other opportunities. The report also notes that 23 percent of workers don’t think companies are trying as hard to retain them this year, compared to last year.

Is there risk in changing jobs?

But, are employees jeopardizing their careers if they make it a practice to job-hop? Carolyn Thompson, managing principal of the Merito Group, a talent acquisition and consulting firm located in Vienna, VA, tells GoodCall®, “Younger workers – many of whom are still on their parents’ healthcare plans – are more willing to job hop than previous generations, just as they are willing to download the latest app or trade in their phone for the newest model, because they have adopted the mentality that ‘newer’ must be ‘better.’”

But she warns that changing jobs repeatedly is risky. “After 2, 3, or 4 of these job moves, it starts to catch up with them when looking for positions in the next highest level.” Why? Thomson says companies tend to promote people at the three-year to four-year mark – but they’re looking for dedicated people.

“The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, so some companies may shy away from someone who has had four jobs in four years versus someone who has had one or two jobs in the same timeframe and has also shown a track record of successful promotion and acceptance of responsibility.”

Terri Williams
Terri Williams graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her education, career, and business articles have been featured on Yahoo! Education, U.S. News & World Report, The Houston Chronicle, and in the print edition of USA Today Special Edition. Terri is also a contributing author to "A Practical Guide to Digital Journalism Ethics," a book published by the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy at Loyola University Chicago.

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