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Build Your Career Work-Life Balance

Unhappy at Work? The Big Reason You Probably Won't Quit

sad, unhappy   / Credit: Dreamstime

The majority of American workers are unhappy on the job. They're not planning on finding new work, however. Most plan to stick with their current employer rather than jump ship, new research shows.

In a survey conducted by the consulting company Accenture, more than two-thirds of workers said they have no plans to leave their job, even though nearly 60 percent admit being dissatisfied with it.

The driving force behind staying put is the flexibility many are afforded. The majority of surveyed employees reported having some type of flexible work schedule, and 44 percent said they have used flexible work options for more than three years.

Sixty-four percent of unhappy employees listed that flexibility as a reason to ride it out in their current job.

And though they might not be smiling, the Accenture study shows most employees are taking steps to increase their value in the workplace, including accepting a different role or responsibility, receiving more education or training and working longer hours.

[The Top 5 Most Flexible Careers]

"Despite current challenges, employees are still striving for success — and energized, engaged employees remain a competitive advantage," said Adrian Lajtha, Accenture's chief leadership officer. "Since the majority of today’s professionals are not job hunting, leading companies must capitalize on this moment in time to equip their people with clearly defined career paths that include innovative training, leadership development and opportunities for advancement."

The research found many employees are sacrificing personal relationships for the betterment of their career. More than 40 percent of those surveyed said they’ve had to give up family time in order to succeed, while 41 percent said career demands have hurt their family life.

Nellie Borrero of Accenture said the study shows a new norm has developed in the workplace.

"Employees are defining success in a variety of ways, customizing their own approaches and balancing personal demands with their desire to succeed," Borrero said. "The challenge for employers is to help employees fully integrate the whole spectrum of work and life needs over the course of their careers."

The study, titled "The Path Forward," was based on surveys of 3,900 business executives from organizations in 31 countries.

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance business and technology writer who has worked in public relations and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter. You can reach him at chadgbrooks@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @cbrooks76.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.

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