Towers: Watch Out for "Job Scanners"

January 2, 2002 ( - Employees who are actively job searching or would jump on a lucrative offer are, job scanners, who represent 'a potential time bomb' for employers hoping to grow new leaders.

That’s one conclusion from a recent study of worker loyalty by HR consultant Towers Perrin.

Of employees surveyed, 12% said they were in an active job hunt while another 44% wouldn’t turn away from a good offer. Asked how much money — base salary plus annual incentive — it would take for them to jump ship, 54% of those polled said they would do it for as little as 5%.

According to Towers, the key problem is that the “job scanners” are usually between 30 and 44 years old – a frequent age range for picking leaders.

Towers said some of the 44% of employees who plan to stick with their employers are only doing so because they are reluctant to exchange their present seniority for a new job. There as the last hired, they could be the first fired.

More than half (60%) of workers said there was no ‘appropriate’ amount of time an employee should stay with a company.

Towers surveyed 5,707 workers from 13 industries, 84 percent of whom were Americans, the rest Canadians.

Half of them worked for businesses having 5,000 or more employees. Seven in 10 were hourly workers; the rest managers. In all, 4,942 American and 765 Canadian companies were included in the sample.