Stressed-out employees want better conditions, higher salaries
By ANDREA COOMBES
SAN FRANCISCO - Inspired by an improving job market and tired of years of productivity gains wrought on their backs, almost half of U.S. workers are ready to jump ship at the next opportunity, according to a recent poll.
Forty-seven percent of workers are looking for other jobs or plan to look within the next 12 months, according to the online poll of about 2,600 workers conducted by Web portal Yahoo.
Yahoo’s HotJobs site, an employment search Web site, did not run the poll to avoid skewing the results towards those already actively seeking work.
"It’s been more of an employer’s market for the last couple years. A lot of employees have been feeling overextended and underappreciated," said Marc Karasu, vice president of marketing at Yahoo HotJobs.
"Now that we’re beginning to see the first glimmers of potentially a reversal in the economy and more hiring starting to pick up, it’s logical to take it to the next level. These employees who are feeling oppressed are starting to feel empowered and are starting to look at options and see what’s out there."
In May, the Labor Department reported a gain of almost 250,000 jobs. About 1.2 million jobs have been created so far this year.
Workers’ hankering for a change is a wake-up call to employers, Karasu said: "Companies ... don’t want to turn around with an improved economy and all of a sudden find their best people have jumped ship."
For some, the poll is simply a safe forum to vent their unhappiness, but the high percentage of workers who said they want to move on is telling.
"You always have disgruntled people that are just perpetually unhappy, but a lot of people have felt locked into their roles because of the economy. Now, more opportunity gives them more flexibility," Karasu said.
Other studies support the notion that workers aren’t happy: Employers got a B+ rating for their culture and work environment, one of the top aspects of employee retention, and a C- rating for their compensation practices, another key retention driver, according to a WorldatWork article citing a Spherion Employment Solutions study. WorldatWork is an association of benefits professionals.
Fifty-two percent of workers are interested in leaving their jobs, and 75 percent of them want to do so within 12 months, the WorldatWork article said.
Years of slow wage growth appear to be grating on workers: 49 percent in the Yahoo poll said they were leaving their current jobs because they felt they could get better salaries elsewhere.
Real hourly wages are up just 0.2 percent in the past year.
In another sign that workers are unhappy, 34 percent either weren’t sure they would recommend their employer to others or would definitely not do so, according to the poll.
Forty-five percent cited a lack of potential for career growth in their current workplace as a reason for leaving, and 36 percent were in search of better benefits packages.
Among workers who don’t intend to leave their jobs, 51 percent said they were staying because of a good benefits package, 46 percent cited a flexible work schedule, and 43 percent said they had an easy commute.
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