Employees Grow Restive, Says Global Survey

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Princeton, N.J.
It seems workers on four continents have grown more restive during the past two years, according to a survey by global consultants BlessingWhite.

Of the nearly 4,500 who participated in the study, 58 percent expect to “definitely” remain with their employer through the year, down from 65 percent in 2006, whereas 34 percent said they would “probably” stay, up from 29 percent in 2006.

Eight percent of respondents, on the other hand, indicated there is “no way” they expect to do so, up from 6 percent two years ago.

Women and men hardly differ in their likelihood to remain with their employer, according to the findings: 59 percent of men and 57 percent of women plan to stay put.

But employees in Europe and Asia appear less content with their current jobs than those in the U.S. or Canada. Only 49 percent of Europeans and 54 percent of employees in Asia-Pacific expect to stick with their employer, compared with 60 percent of Americans.

Assuming you have a choice, do you plan to remain with your organization through the 2008 year?

North America     Europe     Asia-Pacific
Yes, definitely         60%             49%         54%
Probably                 32%             41%         39%
No way                     7%             11%         7%

Perhaps ominously for European employers, more than one in 10 of their workers said there is “no way” they will stay.

The regional findings may be interpreted in different ways, acknowledged Christopher Rice, CEO of BlessingWhite. “They may mean more people are taking control over their destiny and plan to do more to manage their career. As likely, their disengagement may reflect pessimism with the uncertainty in the global economy. In either case, employers would be wise to take notice.”

But the best workers tend to be mobile in any economic situation, Rice cautioned. “People keep on with their employer not necessarily because of the money or benefits. We find that top performers are the same worldwide. If management doesn’t provide employees with the opportunity to make a difference for the enterprise, engage in work that’s interesting or worthwhile and pursue their personal development, these same individuals are going to take their knowledge and skills elsewhere.”

Senior management has to address engagement issues in a comprehensive way, believes Rice. “But even solitary efforts help, at least to some degree. The objective is to minimize undesirable turnover and hold onto the best workers.”

North America accounted for 71 percent of the respondents, Europe for 13 percent and Asia/Pacific for 13 percent. A majority of the respondents were managers, supervisors or above. More than 90 percent already had been with their employer at least one year. Respondents were evenly split among men and women. BlessingWhite conducted the employee engagement survey in December 2007 and January 2008.

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