Bad Economy Doesn't Mean Workers Won't Leave

February 3, 2009 ( - A new survey from reveals employers are underestimating the challenge they face in retaining employees.

Many employers believe that during tough economic times their employees will not be searching for a new job; however the survey revealed employers are underestimating the number of employees searching for new jobs by nearly 2 to 1.

Approximately 65% of employees admitted to passively or actively looking for a new job, compared to employers’ estimate of 37%, according to a press release.

In fact, the survey indicates that 65% of employees are looking and are engaged in just-in-case job search activities, such as surfing jobs lists (63%), updating resumes (47%), networking with friends (40%), and posting resumes (33%). Surfing job listings has increased 17% from last year’s results, the press release said.

Nearly 80% of employers do not believe employees will begin a job search in next few months while nearly 60% of employees say they intend to intensify their job search in next three months.

“Good relationships with co-workers” remains one of the top three reasons why people stay in their jobs, but “job security,” “desirable commute,” and “desirable hours” have replaced “good relationships with managers” and “adequate benefits” for the most influential reasons why people remain in a given job.

Top reasons to leave a job stayed same from last year’s survey results: Inadequate Compensation, Inadequate Development Opportunities and Insufficient Recognition.

According to's annual Employee Satisfaction and Retention Survey, 65% of employees are at least somewhat satisfied in their jobs while employers estimated that figure to be 77%.

Employers overestimate the degree of extremely satisfied employees nearly two to one.

The levels of satisfaction among employees surveyed varied by job level and salary. The higher the salary and job level, the greater the number of extremely satisfied employees, the survey found. Age also affects job satisfaction. The survey found that millennials (ages 18-30) report the lowest job satisfaction.

More than 7,141 employees and 363 human resources (HR) professionals participated in the survey.