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84% of Workers Want to Quit Jobs, Find New Gigs in 2011

Don’t be surprised if your company loses top workers in 2011.

A recent survey reveals 84 percent of U.S. employees plan to look for new jobs in 2011 – up from 60 percent a year ago. Only 5 percent want to stay at their current position.

“This finding is more about employee dissatisfaction and discontent than projected turnover,” said Douglas Matthews, president of career-management agency Right Management, which conducted the poll.

“Clearly, if the job market picks up a lot next year many employees are going to take advantage of it, and organizations stand to lose some of their top contributors,” Matthews said. “So this is a wake-up call to management.”

Employees are unhappy because of the recession, job-market weakness and disruptive economic and workforce changes, he said: “Employees’ trust has been seriously shaken and there is a general lack of confidence in leaders.”

To alleviate dissatisfaction, Matthews suggests managers should:

  • Identify star performers and have open and constructive career discussions with them. “High-value employees always have opportunities available to them. Know who they are and be sure to take care of them in ways that are meaningful and aligned with the businesses goals.”
  • Be honest and positive with employees. “Provide them with feedback on what they are doing really well and ways to help them improve. A mentoring relationship between the manager and employee will build mutual trust and hopefully limit future defections.”

Right Management surveyed 1,413 employees in October and November.

“We view it as a barometer of their trust in management or commitment to the job,” Matthews said. “It’s a workplace equivalent to opinion polling on whether or not ‘this country is moving in the right direction.’ Just as people are questioning their elected leaders in government, so too are workers wondering if their management is up to the challenge of renewed growth or developing a sound strategy moving forward.”

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