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75% of Work Force Is Headed for the Door

By Deborah Rothberg  |  Posted 2006-12-19 Print this article Print

Retention strategies, although gaining popularity, are not widespread enough to stop the tide of worker exits, according to a new poll.

The new year may bring resignations aplenty, as more than 75 percent of employees are currently looking for new jobs, according to a poll released Dec. 19 by the Society for Human Resource Management and The Wall Street Journal's CareerJournal.com.

2006 has already been a big year for losing workers. According to the HR professionals surveyed, on average, 12 percent of their organizations' work forces has voluntarily resigned since the beginning of the year.

While money took first place among reasons for employees jumping ship—cited by 30 percent of employees and 40 percent of HR professionals—opportunity for career advancement also appeared as a significant factor.

Twenty-seven percent of workers and 48 percent of HR pros said career opportunities elsewhere were a prime reason for employees leaving their current jobs. In addition, dissatisfaction with their current jobs' potential for career development was cited by 21 percent of employees and 29 percent of HR pros.

The greatest workplace malcontent was found among nonmanagement employees, as 71 percent of HR professionals said members of this group were the most likely to resign.

Concern over the sheer volume of resignations was expressed by 73 percent of HR professionals polled, and nearly half said they would shift their focus to retention programs and processes.

A tight worker supply is hampering IT employment growth. Read more here.

Special retention processes have grown sharply in popularity in the last two years, up from 35 percent in 2004 to 49 percent in 2006.

HP pros said some of the most successful retention strategies they'd found were promoting qualified employees, offering competitive merit increases and salary adjustments, and providing career development opportunities. Among these, salary increases were the most popular and successful, but also the most difficult to arrange.

"Offering competitive salaries is important to employees; however, compensation alone is not sufficient for a complete retention strategy," said Susan Meisinger, president and CEO of SHRM, based in Alexandria, Va.

"Career development opportunities and work-life balance are also important, and employers must consider these types of benefits in their retention practices if they want to maintain or increase retention at their organizations," she said.

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