Sunday, April 26, 2009

Recession, Reshmession: Employees Still Have a Wandering Eye

Economists seem to agree that we're in the worst recession since the 1930s. Given the state of things, employees who have survived HR's grim reaper won't be looking for an opportunity to jump ship, right?

Wrong. A recent survey of employers and employees churned up some fascinating numbers. Among the key findings:

* 65% of employees surveyed were at least "somewhat satisfied" with their jobs. Employers estimated this number at 77%;

* 65% of employees surveyed were looking around or doing some "just-in-case" job hunting. Nearly 60% of employees said they planned to ramp up their job search within the next three months;

* About 80% of employers didn't think employees would ramp up their job search efforts over the next three months. In fact, 63% of employers didn't think their employees were looking for new jobs.  

So employers think employees aren't looking for new jobs while employees are busy polishing their resumes, checking out job boards and networking. I'd says there's a perception gap here!

As the first statistic reveals, employers are also overestimating just how happy current employees are on the job. Younger workers have the highest levels of job dissatisfaction, since job satisfaction tends to rise along with pay scale and job level.

Lesson: Just because the economy sucks doesn't mean employees aren't looking to see what's out there. Employees are very worried and they're working up contingency plans should they get pink slipped. You really can't blame them. Employees, especially those working at companies that have instituted layoffs, are also working harder for fewer perks. They walk past empty desks where coworkers once sat. It's not exactly a morale booster. 

Conclusion: Leaders have to get a better read on employee job satisfaction levels. This is a time companies must do more, not less. Employers who don't put in the effort will be in for a rude awakening as soon as the economy shows some signs of life.

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