Survey shows 37% of employees, regardless of satisfaction level, looking to leave

Senior managers and Millennials most likely to seek new opportunities

Posted October 12, 2015

Nearly one out of two employees who said they are very satisfied with their organizations and their jobs (45% and 42%, respectively) are also looking to leave, according to Mercer’s latest Inside Employees’ Minds™ research that surveyed 3,000 people representing a complete cross-section of the U.S. workforce.

The new survey from Mercer, a global consulting leader in advancing health, wealth, and careers, also found that 37% of all workers — regardless of their satisfaction level — are seriously considering leaving their organizations, up from 33% of the workforce who were considering leaving in 2011.

“The survey confirms what employers have been seeing first-hand — a workforce in transition and, increasingly, one on the move,” said Patrick Tomlinson, North American Business Leader for Talent at Mercer. “The new twist is that the inclination to leave is increasingly detached from employees’ satisfaction with jobs, pay, and even growth opportunities. Employers need to shift their talent strategies to understand the modern terms of engagement from the most productive employees.”

The findings are more pronounced for various demographic groups within the workforce. For example, 63% of senior managers surveyed are seriously considering leaving their current roles, compared to 39% of management-level employees and 32% of non-management workers.

The leave/stay decision varies across age groups

Older workers, who typically face an array of family and financial commitments, say they are less likely to be looking. Only 29% of workers ages 50–64 are seriously considering leaving at the present time. But it’s a different story with younger generations of workers, particularly Millennials, who bring a “here and now” philosophy to their careers, according to Tomlinson. As a group, they seem to value accelerated career paths and diversity (in the workplace and the work itself) over job security and tenure. Mercer’s new survey reflects these trends, noting that 44% of workers age 18–34 are seriously considering leaving their organization, compared to 37% for the overall workforce, despite the fact that they are generally more positive about many aspects of work.

Tomlinson continued: “If employers want to remain competitive in today’s market, they need to create a strategic workforce plan — one that aligns to an evolved value proposition — based on the dynamics of this rapidly changing talent landscape. The plan must consider both engaged and disengaged workers, who account for about a fifth of the overall workforce, according to our research. Perhaps more than those who leave, this group has the potential to harm morale and productivity. If your employees stay, you want them engaged and productive.”

“The future of successful work relationships between employer and employee will depend on the trifecta of health, wealth, and career — and how you make them all flexible to reflect the way people want to work today and what they are looking for in the employment relationship,” Tomlinson added.

Essentials of Employee Relations ManualJ. J. Keller's Essentials of Employee Relations Manual covers all aspects of employee/employer relationship such as: recruiting and hiring, management and development, and separations.


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