Many workers will be on the move in the coming months, according to new research from global staffing firm Robert Half. The “Job Optimism” survey of more than 500 professionals tracks employee sentiment on current and future career prospects and reveals key implications for employers. The following is a summary of the research.

Employee Confidence Signals Movement

The majority of workers surveyed feel confident about their current skill set (80%) and job security (79%). But that doesn’t guarantee they’ll stay put: 21% said they plan to look for a new role in the next several months. The top reasons are because they are experiencing low morale and burn out (35%) and want more opportunities to grow and develop their skills (23%).

Additional findings:

33% of both Gen Z and Millennial professionals plan to pursue a new job with 40% of Gen Zers indicating the main reason is because they want a salary boost versus the 31% of Millennials who are experiencing low morale. Among the five Canadian cities in the survey, workers in Calgary (25%), Toronto (24%) and Vancouver (23%) are most likely to look for a new role.

“With restrictions associated with the third wave of the pandemic gradually easing across Canada and business activity poised to resume, professionals are beginning to gain more confidence in the labour market,” said David King, Canadian senior district president of Robert Half. “With re-opening and future of work strategies top of mind for many employers, organizations need to consider the needs of their current workforce and how new and improved policies may impact turnover and recruitment”

Company Values are Non-Negotiable

27% of professionals said they had a shift in perspective due to the pandemic and prefer to work for an organization that better aligns with their personal values. In addition, 75% of employees would leave a company whose values don’t align with their own. The corporate programs most important to workers are employee well-being (72%) and recognition (53%).

Flexibility Comes First

When considering a career change, many professionals will overlook traditional office jobs: 36% reported wanting a fully remote role and 25% said they’re interested in full-time contracting. “Many workers have re-evaluated their personal and professional priorities over the past year,” added King. “As job openings increase, employees will be on the lookout for opportunities that better meet their needs – from salary and benefits to flexibility and well-being.”

Key Takeaways for Employers

Leaders should keep these three best practices in mind to increase job satisfaction and reduce turnover:

  1. Make professional development plans. Partner with top performers to define their long-term objectives and provide challenging assignments and skill-building opportunities that will help them reach their goals without leaving the company.
  2. Continually refine organizational culture. Keep a pulse on the most important drivers of employee well-being and engagement and act on feedback in a timely manner.
  3. Embrace flexibility. Companies that adopt a hybrid work model and hire a mix of permanent and contract talent can enjoy the benefits of improved staff morale, better performance and access to a deeper and more diverse candidate pool.

About the Research

The online survey was developed by Robert Half and conducted by an independent research firm from March 26 to April 15, 2021. It includes responses from more than 500 workers 18 years of age or older at companies in Canada with 20 or more employees.

Source: Canadian SME