Americans who still have job eager to find new one

Although the U.S. unemployment rate remains in the double digits, more than one-half of U.S. workers plan to change jobs in 2010, others are reporting widespread "disengagement" within their workforces, and employers are underestimating the level of employees' willingness to pursue opportunities with new companies.

That's the conclusion of a host of surveys recently conducted by several management consulting and human resource organizations and Internet job site CareerBuilder.

Among the findings:
  • Right Management, a division of employment services company Manpower, asked 900 North American workers, "Do you plan to pursue new job opportunities as the economy improves in 2010?" and the responses were:

    • 60% - Yes, I intend to leave
    • 21% - Maybe, so I’m networking
    • 6% - Not likely, but I’ve updated my resume
    • 13% - No, I intend to stay

  • The 2009 Employment Dynamics and Growth Expectations Report said 55% of employees plan to change jobs, careers or industries "when the economy recovers."

  • CareerBuilder polled 4,285 full-time, private-sector employees and found that 40% are struggling to stay motivated in their current jobs, and 24% said they didn't feel loyal to their employer.

  • Another survey by consulting firm Finnegan Mackenzie and business network ExecuNet involving 1,627 employed executives found that more than 90% of executives would take an executive recruiter’s call and more than 50% are looking for a new job. It also found that professionals at all levels of management are underestimating the percentage of direct reports interested in pursuing new opportunities.

  • Those surveys come on the heels of other research showing that employee engagement levels have dipped during the past year or so. In September, Workforce Management conducted a survey of 525 readers at organizations with 1,000 or more employees. Roughly 45% of respondents reported that engagement had decreased a little or a lot at their organization since the recession began. Nearly 27% said engagement had stayed the same, and 28% said it had increased.

  • A May survey by consulting firm Watson Wyatt Worldwide of 1,300 workers at large U.S. employers found that engagement levels for top performers fell close to 25% year over year. Employees overall experienced a 9% drop in engagement year over year, Watson Wyatt said.

  • In a similar survey by Adecco Group North America, 77% of workers were critical of their organization’s brain trust and weren’t satisfied with the strategy and vision of their company and its leadership.
"Employees are clearly expressing their pent up frustration with how they have been treated through the downturn," Right Management President and Chief Operating Officer Douglas J. Matthews said in a news release. "While employers may have taken the necessary steps to streamline operations to remain viable, it appears many employees may have felt neglected in the process. The result is a disengaged and disgruntled workforce." 

A Workforce Management magazine story recently said "layoffs, pay cuts and other fallout from the recession have devastated employee engagement." Experts in employee retention say staff-cutting and budget-cutting employers must move quickly to restore pay cuts and reward employees or risk losing them next year, according to a December news report about the surveys.

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