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I Like My Job but I’m Leaving Anyway, Say Young Workers Today

A recent study by Mercer found that 42% of workers today are ready to quit their jobs even though they’re basically happy with them. They may be proud to work for the organizations and have a strong feeling of accomplishment but they are looking for greener pastures anyway. This is more the case with younger workers and senior management than with the older workforce and non-management workers.

Seriously Considering Leaving

According to the study, “In 2011, 33% of all US workers were seriously considering leaving their organization. That was a surprising number four years ago, but today, the number has increased to 37% in the US. As might be expected, the share of workers seriously considering leaving is highest among younger workers.”

This is interesting data but what is causing the shift in younger workers’ attitudes towards tenure? If you’ve got a good job at a good company, working with people you like and making the wage you desire, then why would you be looking for different opportunities? There must be a reason for this but the Mercer findings didn’t speculate.

A more transitional workforce

What is revealing, however, is that the general attitudes of workers today is changing. Workers are more transitional than they used to be and they seem to be more interested in career advancement than anything else. This may be one of the reasons why employees are ready to leave a company even when all the basics are provided – if they see a career opportunity, they will take it, despite the possible loss of comfort.

It also appears that employees generally see their jobs as less secure these days. If employees think they are going to get replaced, naturally, they might keep their eyes open for other work.

While this study did not focus on the cause of the “happy but leaving” trend, it’s just as important as ever for employers to make every possible attempt to retain talent. The cost of turnover is high and it’s not always easy to find good replacements.

What Workers Want

What is important to workers has changed over the years. While perks like free food and ping pong tables may be attractive in the workplace, research doesn’t show that these rate very high on the list of most valued benefits.

Important benefits

Younger workers (34 &under) are most interested in:

  1. Base pay
  2. Career advancement
  3. Retirement plan
  4. Low healthcare costs
  5. Bonus/Incentive
  6. Flexible schedule

Older workers (50-64) are more interested in:

  1. Base pay
  2. Retirement plan
  3. Low healthcare costs
  4. Bonus/Incentive
  5. Paid time off
  6. Type of work

Career advancement

With career advancement being so high on the list for younger workers, employers should make sure that workers are sufficiently challenged and that the work they do will help them advance their careers. If workers are bored or see themselves stuck in the same position five years down the road, they will consider leaving their jobs even if they pay is good and the atmosphere enjoyable.

Decreased Sense of Job Security

“While US workers feel somewhat better about overall economic prospects, they appear to be losing confidence in their own job security. In the past two years, employees’ concern about losing their jobs within the next 12 months has increased from 38% to 42%.”

The new generation has somewhat different goals and desires from generations past and if employers want to keep them around, they need to realize this and change the way they view employee retention.

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