Job Seeking

Approximately a year ago, I compared the growing desire among employees to leave for better opportunities to a tiger waiting to escape a cage.  Now, as the labor market shows some signs of improvement, especially in high demand segments intent seems to be transforming into action.  As we return to this discussion, lets take a look at how the tiger is doing and when it might decide the caged days are over.

A 2011 survey by HCS of 3,000 employees across various industries found that 43 percent were actively searching for a new opportunity while 65 percent desired to move to another employer.  The gap between those searching and those desiring a move stemmed from concerns with stability, lack of opportunities, and general uncertainty regarding the future, according to respondents.  As a result, an even lower proportion felt an opportunity was pending with about 15 percent indicating that a move would likely occur in the next six months.  Put simply, employees desired change, but did not see many available options.

So, where are we after a year has passed? CareerBuilder.com conducted a similar survey recently and found that almost everyone is looking for a new job and what was a dream is on its way to being a reality.  Some of the highlights include:

  • 74 percent of employees are either actively searching for a new job or are open to new opportunities;
  • 24 percent indicated that job searching is a regular part of their weekly activities; and
  • 69 percent of workers say searching for new opportunities is part of their “regular routine.”

Similarly, a followup HCS survey found that the outlook improved in the last year.  Now, 40 percent feel that a move might occur in the next six months.  Why are employees looking more aggressively now?

More opportunities – Although unemployment remains  high, the following segments of the labor market continue to accelerate with demand exceeding supply: medical, hospitality, information technology, engineering, construction management, and accounting.  In some cities and regions, employers are resorting to roadside billboards to attract candidates due to severe shortages.  If your employees can move to one of these industries, challenging times will be here soon.

Lack of recognition – According to a 2012 survey by Globoforce, only 24 percent of employees feel that their employer recognizes their contribution sufficiently.  Recognition takes many forms from a simple “thank you” all the way through being promoted.  A 2012 HCS survey found that the upturn in the labor market has actually slowed instead of increased all types of recognition, especially internal promotions.

Stagnate rewards – Most organizations altered pay very little since 2008.  Across industries and locations, employees have worked harder with less resources, yet received little of the productivity gain in wage increases or other rewards.  Consequently, in the coming years, employees will be looking to recoup their lost gains and “get even” with current employers.

Now is the time to determine which tigers we need and what we are willing to do to keep them.  What are your plans?

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