Many American workers who identify themselves as top performers are shopping around for better jobs despite uncertain economic times, according to a new study.
The 2012 Aflac Workforce Report shows a recent uptick of voluntary quits in the workplace. It also reveals that nearly half of U.S. workers (49 percent) are likely to look for a job this year.
A majority of those who say they are extremely or very likely to leave their jobs describe themselves as the kind of workers companies need to retain to remain competitive in a tight economy.
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The study found that those employees who are extremely or very likely to look for a new job in 2012 say the following qualities describe them fairly or extremely well:
-- Hard worker, 90 percent
-- High achiever at work, 79 percent
-- Highly educated, 73 percent
-- Ambitious, someone who strives to get ahead, 64 percent
Why workers leave
Workers who are extremely or very satisfied with their benefits program are nine times more likely to stay with their employer than those workers who are dissatisfied with their benefits program, according to the report. In fact, 76 percent of employees believe they'd be at least somewhat likely to accept a job with a more robust benefits package but lower compensation.
"Employers should be concerned that after several years of recession and a very slow recovery, their top talent has a pent-up desire to leave for what they believe to be greener pastures," said Audrey Boone Tillman, executive vice president of corporate services at Aflac. "Our study also sheds light on some of the reasons employees consider leaving and what employers can do to keep them."
Other factors that play a role in the decision to leave a current employer:
-- 35 percent of workers who don't believe their company has a reputation as a great place to work say they are extremely likely to leave in the next 12 months.
-- One-third of workers who don't believe retaining employees is an important priority for their employer say they are likely to leave.
-- Workers who said they are stressed out are nearly twice as likely (43 percent vs. 25 percent) to leave their job compared to workers who are not stressed.
What employers can do
"It's been an employer-driven market for a number of years, and businesses watching their bottom lines may not have taken care of employees as well as they did before the recession," Tillman said.
According to Tillman, here are some best practices for maintaining a satisfied workforce:
-- Assess your workforce often to hear what's on their minds and what's important to them.
-- Regularly recognize employees' efforts.
-- Create programs and tailor benefits to address your employees' current needs.
-- Demonstrate that you support employees and their families.
The Employer Survey was conducted online within the U.S. between Jan. 24-Feb. 7, 2012, among 1,876 benefits decision-makers. Results were representative of U.S. companies with at least three employees based on company size (number of employees) and industry. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.
To see the 2012 study results, click here.
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