Improved Economy Has Workers on the Hunt

May 4, 2011 ( – With the economy improving, employers may need to be concerned about retaining top talent, according to the results of a new Deloitte study.

Nearly two out of three (65%) employees surveyed are actively testing the job market, the study, “Talent Edge 2020: Building the Recovery Together—What Talent Expects and How Leaders Are Responding,” found.   

When asked to list their top three retention incentives, 53% of the respondents ranked promotion/job advancement first, followed by increased compensation at 39%, and additional bonuses or other financial incentives at 34%.  According to a press release, boosting employee support/recognition from their managers, a non-financial incentive, was also ranked as an effective retention tactic by 30% of the surveyed employees.  

Jeff Schwartz, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP and U.S. Talent Services leader, commented in the announcement: “As employees eye the exit signs following a hard hitting recession, employers need to tailor and target their talent strategies to satisfy each employee group from baby boomers to millennials.”     

The survey found that baby boomers, among all workforce generations surveyed, expressed the strongest discontent with their employers and the greatest frustration that their loyalty and hard work has been neither recognized nor rewarded. Almost one-third (32%) of baby boomers surveyed say a lack of trust in leadership is a top turnover trigger – the highest ranking by any workforce generation.  

Generation X employees are clearly the group most likely to be looking at exit strategies from their current jobs, according to the survey findings. Citing lack of career progress as a top exit trigger (65%), only 28% of Gen X employees surveyed expect to stay with their current employers.  

By a more than two-to-one ratio (32% to 13%), millennials regard their employers’ commitment to “corporate responsibility/volunteerism” to be very important, as compared to baby boomers.  Millennials are also nearly three times more likely to say a “fun work environment” is important compared to baby boomers (55% to 19%).  

Employees who plan to stay with their current employers (35%) say their companies have strong talent programs, characterized by clear career paths, leadership development initiatives, trust and confidence in corporate leadership, superior programs to retain top talent, and effective communication.  

“Talent Edge 2020: Building the Recovery Together—What Talent Expects and How Leaders Are Responding” is part of Deloitte’s survey series conducted in collaboration with Forbes Insights. The survey was taken by 356 employees at large companies with annual sales exceeding $500 million, with more than three in four respondents at companies with more than $1 billion in annual sales.