- Nearly one-third of employees plan to leave their jobs in the next 12 months, a new study by staffing firm Spherion said, and pay and work-life balance are key to understanding why. Forty-two percent of the 2,115 employees polled were unhappy with their current salaries, and most (62%) said that work flexibility and other programs that support work-life balance have declined in the past year.
- Just 19% of workers felt their employers were putting in effort to keep them on board, Spherion said. Millennial respondents were most likely to leave, with 38% of the group reporting that they plan to leave their current position in the next 12 months.
- Spherion also polled 731 HR managers in the two-part study. Employers and workers disagreed about performance reviews; employees preferred real-time feedback, according to Spherion, but 58% of employers still conduct annual reviews. Employee pay satisfaction declined for the second consecutive year, but employers felt they offered workers enough non-monetary perks to make up for lower wages. And while employees believed their companies were doing less to keep them, most employers (71%) said they were more worried about talent shortages than before.
It's hard to believe that employers who are worried about turnover wouldn't try to keep valued workers from leaving, but the results of Spherion's study — though important observations about respondents — aren't necessarily in agreement with other research on the topic of worker happiness. A recent global study of workers by project management software-maker Wrike found respondents were mostly happy at work, and another by employee engagement platform Peakon found workers were happy with many factors of the job (but were unhappy about their pay).
"Employers need to proactively pursue ways to get more aligned with what employees want and need and what drives them," Spherion president Rebecca Rogers Tijerino said in a statement. "With the incredibly tight labor market, it's even more important for employers to evolve their approaches to recruiting and engaging employees so they can attract the right talent and win in the marketplace."
Spherion's study showed that workers are clear about what they want: 62% want to work for an organization that shares their passions, and 58% want to work for an employer that advocates for the causes they care about. Of course, this isn't a first time workers have expressed this in research; employees in a 2018 Metlife survey want employers to help solve societal problems, and 81% of millennials in a 2017 Cone Communications survey said they expect companies to pledge to be good corporate citizens.
Although employees in numerous studies are willing to take a pay cut for more work flexibility, a positive work culture or greater career opportunities, low pay remains a pain point for many. Employers might still need to find ways to raise wages to attract and retain talent beyond benefits and perks.