Workers Growing Less Likely To Jump To New Jobs As Labor Market Concerns Mount

U.S. workers may be growing less confident in the country’s labor market, reports the Gartner research firm. In Q2 of this year, more than 53 percent of U.S. workers said they intended to stay with their current employer, a 10 percent increase from first quarter 2019, and the first time ever that a majority of the U.S. workforce has reported an intent to stay in-seat. This figure is well above the global average of nearly 40 percent.

This latest data from Gartner’s 2Q19 Global Talent Monitor report shows this record-high intent to stay coincides with other workplace indicators that reflect definitive changes in employees’ perceptions of and behaviors within the U.S. labor market.

“Over the previous several years, the clear story within the U.S. has been a robust economy, tight labor market and plenty of opportunities for growth and improvement from the employee perspective,” says Brian Kropp, chief of research for the Gartner HR practice. “With this quarter-over-quarter increase in intent to stay, we are now seeing a shift as employees hunker down, indicating concerns around available job opportunities and potential weakness in the labor market.”

In second quarter 2019, only 12.5 percent of U.S. workers indicated they were actively looking for another job—well below the global average of 20.2 percent and a significant drop from almost 25 percent of workers in 2019’s first quarter. The second quarter of 2019 also witnessed a 2.4 percent decline in employees’ business confidence, with the global business confidence index measuring at its lowest point since third quarter 2016.

The number of U.S. employees who expressed a willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty at their jobs also increased quarter over quarter. In 2019’s second quarter, more that 21 percent of U.S. workers reported high discretionary effort on the job, significantly greater than the international average of nearly 17 percent and rising above 20 percent for the first time in the U.S. since first quarter 2018.

“Workers appear to be putting more time and effort into their current positions with the hopes of solidifying their roles in case of a change in the economy,” says Kropp. “This situation creates an opportunity for organizations to invest in internal training programs that capture this employee commitment to build a stronger, more productive workforce.”

As the U.S. labor market continues to experience unemployment of less than four percent and more job openings exist than people seeking them, companies remain challenged to attract talent. Gartner suggests that with more workers now planning to stay in their current positions, employers need to develop programs that engage existing and future employees, recognize hard work and accomplishments and deliver rewards that workers value most.

“Investing in and delivering a strong EVP [Employee Value Proposition] enables companies to raise employee engagement levels, helping to retain talent and potentially decrease annual employee turnover by 69 percent,” Kropp adds. “A robust EVP also allows organizations to reach deeper into the labor market to attract the right candidates.”

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