43% of workers to look for a new job in the next 12 months

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Forty-three percent of workers plan on looking for a job in the next 12 months, new research from global staffing firm Robert Half says.

A separate survey finds that 81% of employers are concerned about holding on to top talent, with one in three being very concerned.

A full 43% planning to look for a job is an unusually high number, says Brett Good, senior district president for Robert Half.

“Having gone through a few economic cycles over the course of my career, this number is the highest I’ve seen from a survey,” said Good. “Imagine an organization losing 43% of its staff during a 12-month period. Is it any wonder why so many employers are “concerned” or “very concerned” about staff retention? This high number speaks to the strength of the market and the confidence that employees have in their ability to find new employment opportunities.”

Show me the money

When workers who said they intend to leave their jobs were asked what would entice them to stay, more money topped the list (43%), followed by more time off or better benefits (20%). Nothing else was particularly important.

“These results show that for many professionals, money matters,” said Good. “It is key for employers to understand what their workers want to get out of their job and then cater to those needs. Our survey showed 43% are looking for higher compensation and better benefits, but some employees may be looking for more work-life balance or career advancement opportunities. And, with the churn in the employment market, it is highly probable that employees are hearing about or seeing roles equivalent to their current one that are paying more than their current salary. For employers that have not taken the initiative to conduct a broad review of their compensation plans in the last few years, they may in fact be behind current market rates.”

Senior managers were asked what retention strategies they used:

  • Increasing communication with employees (e.g. town hall meetings, employee engagement surveys: 46%
  • Improving employee recognition programs: 41%
  • Providing professional development: 41%
  • Enhancing compensation and benefits: 40%
  • Providing reimbursement for ongoing education: 33%

Those efforts may not be making much of a difference when they’re up against a roaring economy.

Said Good, “We have been in an economic environment of prolonged low unemployment rates and the most recent statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 3.4 million workers voluntarily quit their jobs last month. This can create hiring challenges for hiring managers, so it’s crucial they are paying at least market rates to attract the best talent. They should re-evaluate compensation structures regularly to remain competitive and reduce turnover.”

In other words, anything other than more money, better benefits, and possibly better work-life balance isn’t going to make a worker stay if she or he has their eye on the door.