Forget the Economy: 40% of Workers Are Ready to Find a New Job This Fall

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We all know how the tough economy has forced many, many employees to stay in jobs that they might have already bailed out on in the past.

We also know that a lot of employers have pointed to the Great Recession as the reason why they have cut or frozen salaries, instituted furloughs, trimmed benefits, made wholesale layoffs, and generally pushed their staffs to do a lot more with a whole lot less.

Well, as I have said before, the day of reckoning for all of that is coming. And it may be a lot closer than anyone thinks.

A new survey by Regus, a company that bills itself as a “leading global provider of flexible workplace solutions,” shows that 40 percent of U.S. professionals are considering quitting their jobs after the summer vacation season. The reason? According to the survey, 40 percent of respondents would leave a company if they felt they were lacking communication with management, while 37 percent cited a lack of opportunity for career advancement and promotion, and 34 percent said it was overwork.

Dwelling on the pros ands cons of their job

“As workers pack up their swimsuits this summer, they are more likely to dwell on the pros and cons of the job that is waiting for them at home,” said Sande Golgart, Regional Vice President for Regus, in a press release about the survey. “With reports indicating that as many as 25 percent of company top performers in the U.S. plan to quit their jobs within a year, businesses that are not evaluating the necessary benefits for their staff may face losing some of their best talent.” (Note to readers: Regus hasn’t made the actual survey available on their website yet. I’ll post it here when they do, but here’s the press release about it.)

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Losing talent as the economy improves – and it’s debatable how quickly it is given the current employment trends — has got to be a concern for just about any forward-thinking company. This is especially true given the very mixed message employers are getting from other surveys, and, when employees get a look at the projected 2011 salary increases if they choose to stay around.

“Stress caused by overwork has escalated during the … recession,” Golgart added, “with people working harder and longer to make sure they can pay their bills. Bonuses and job perks were cut back to weather the storm, but as the economy picks up employees will be flocking to businesses that promise them better conditions and not necessarily the biggest salary.”

And that’s the big message from survey; if employees choose to leave and go somewhere else, it’s generally because of something OTHER than pay. Yes, raises and salary cuts are issues, but a lack of promotion, bad communications, and plain old overwork are the more telling factors.

John Hollon is Editor-at-Large at ERE Media and was the founding Editor of A longtime newspaper, magazine, and business journal editor, John has deep roots in the talent management space. He's the former Editor of Workforce Management magazine and, served as Editor of RecruitingDaily, and was Vice President for Content at HR technology firm Checkster. An award-winning journalist, John has written extensively about HR, talent management, leadership, and smart business practices, including for the popular Fistful of Talent blog. Contact him at, connect with him on LinkedIn, or follow him on Twitter @johnhollon.


4 Comments on “Forget the Economy: 40% of Workers Are Ready to Find a New Job This Fall

  1. 40% may want to and be willing to find new jobs but I seriously doubt they will. Those jobs just aren't there in the numbers needed and the pressures, compensation and internal challenges are so wide spread from company to company that few (maybe 5%) will actually see opportunity to 'improve' their situation.

    So… instead we'll see engagement scores going down, followed by reductions in national productivity as employers burn out the employees they have. Not a nice prediction but ask any recruiter how long they expect they can hold out doing “more with the same” and you'll get a sense of what I mean.

  2. The real question is what are employers going to do to keep their best employees? What we don't want to see are attractive packages put together to get new workers in the door, while forgetting about the loyal workers who ensured the company survived the recession. Companies that don't let the cutbacks become the norm even in better times are the ones who will keep their workforce employed and engaged.

  3. When will organizations who say people come first begin to walk the talk and put a Chief People Officer at the C-Suite or C-Level table? Until then, results as stated in this survey will continue. People do not like companies, they leave managers (other people) due to inconsistent behaviors based upon unclear, not articulated expectations not to mention all the politics and poor ethical behaviors. Leanne Hoagland-Smith –

  4. The question is: Do you really know what motivates your workers, and how has that changed? Traditional efforts toward employee engagement are failing flat because they are limited by resources and money … and were based on conditions in the past. When people were paid adequately, more employees would accept these messages and buy in. Now, they want action and reassurance – and they're getting neither.

    It's time to reevaluate your employment brand based on where it is now, not what it used to be five years ago. And money is still an issue. That's why we're getting mixed messages. No one knows what to be angry about first. Saying you want more money seems shallow, so they just point to communication or advancement and leave for a better paying job instead.

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