Nearly Half of Workers Plan to Look for New Job in the Next Year

More money is the top incentive that would get employees to stay
An interviewer and candidate shake hands

If you’ve been thinking about circulating your resumé, you’re not alone. New research shows that nearly half of your fellow colleagues may also be testing the waters for getting a better job in the next 12 months, even as employers try to get them to stay.

In July, the unemployment rate was 3.7%, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Since jobs seem to be abundant in such fields as healthcare and financial services, employees may be eager to explore other opportunities. For a closer look at the current job market, specialized staffing firm Robert Half conducted two surveys: One poll questioned more than 2,800 professional workers, while another queried more than 2,800 senior managers.

The results showed workers were largely optimistic about their prospects, as 43% of professionals said they would be hunting for a new job over the next year.

When asked what their current employers could do to convince them to stay, the largest percentage of respondents — 43% — pointed to better pay. Another 20% said more time off and better benefits would persuade them to remain, followed by 19% who said they’d stay for a promotion, and 8% who said they’d stick around if they got a new boss.

However, for 10% of respondents planning to look for a new job, nothing their current employer could do would convince them to stay.

The study also found that workers were more likely to seek a new job in certain cities. Sacramento, Calif.; Miami; Austin, Texas; and Denver were among the cities with the highest percentages of employees planning to job hunt in the next 12 months. In contrast, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Boston, Indianapolis and Pittsburgh had the smallest percentage of employees looking to leave their current jobs.

Bosses want employees to stay but offer the wrong things

Employers aren’t oblivious to the threat of employees leaving. In fact, 81% said they were “concerned” about retaining their top employees, and 33% admitted to being “very concerned.”

However, they may not be offering workers enough of an incentive to get them to stay. While most employees want more money in order to remain with their current jobs, employers’ most popular retention tactics were increasing communication with staff (46%), improving employee recognition programs (41%) and offering professional development opportunities (41%).

There’s nothing wrong with being open to better career opportunities, and with the unemployment rate currently low, now might be a good time to see whether you can find an opportunity that better fits your lifestyle.

When considering a new job, write down your list of top priorities. For example, some people might consider certain job perks to be more important than salary. Also, do your research to determine whether the job market is competitive in your particular city, as some regions have more lucrative opportunities than others.

Tamara E. Holmes

Tamara E. Holmes is a Washington, DC-based writer who covers personal finance, entrepreneurship and careers.

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