As Valentine's Day approaches, more U.S. workers are getting ready to break up with their employers.
A survey conducted by CareerBuilder found that 21 percent of full-time employees plan to change jobs in 2014, the highest since the recession and up from 17 percent in 2013.
Lower job satisfaction is a key reason: the survey found 59 percent of workers are satisfied with their jobs, down from 66 percent in 2013, and 18 percent are dissatisfied, up from 15 percent last year. Those who are dissatisfied cite salary (66 percent) and not feeling valued (65 percent).
"Offering frequent recognition, merit bonuses, training programs and clearly defined career paths are important ways to show workers what they mean to the company," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder. "In general, however, when more workers change jobs it's usually a sign the labor market is warming up. During the recession and in its aftermath fewer people voluntarily left jobs because the chances of finding a new or better one were low compared to a healthier economic cycle."
Adam Samples, metro market manager in the Paramus office of the staffing company Robert Half, said the CareerBuilder results resonate with what he's seeing in New Jersey.
"Economic conditions continue to improve steadily and people are feeling a little bit more confident and starting to put their feelers out there," Samples said, unlike several years ago when many "were too scared to leave."
Samples said companies were trying to do more with less during the recession, and "with that came maybe a loss in the 401k match or a freeze in salaries." Companies held off filling positions during that time and people are still feeling overworked.
Samples said the companies that are achieving the good retention rates are the ones that are "being a little bit more proactive and rolling little things out like providing gym membership or just going as far as to say a simple 'good job' or a recognition email to their peers. Those are the little things that can give a company an edge and help them keep their A players."
Companies need to be proactive and strive to retain key players which ultimately play into the growth of the business and the health of the company, he said.
Samples said he has seen "a steady increase in hiring for a good two years, month after month and quarter after quarter. A lot of that still is centered in temporary staffing. But in the last 12 to 18 months we have seen (increases) in permanent placements"
Robert Half specializes in professional staffing and is leading the charge in IT, accounting and finance, he said.
He said the New Jersey job market "has really come along in the last six month to a year."
The state was lagging the national average for a vast majority of the recovery but it has made substantial improvements in the last six months, he said.
The CareerBuilder survey was conducted online by Harris Interactivefrom Nov. 6 to Dec. 2, 2013, and included 3,008 full-time, private sector employees across industries and company sizes.
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