The economic turbulence of the past few years, as described in previous columns, has created a talent paradox: Despite continued high unemployment, employers still face challenges filling positions requiring scarce skills. Many discussions of the talent paradox focus on the challenges faced by employers. In this column we turn our attention to the employee perspectives of this paradox: what employees are doing and seeking in this challenging economy; why they're staying, why they're leaving and what they want.
These perspectives are found in the September 2012 Talent 2020: Surveying the talent paradox from the employee perspective, the most recent survey in Deloitte's longitudinal Managing Talent in a Turbulent Economy series. This report features results from a survey of 560 employees at large businesses in the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
As documented in the report, 80% of respondents indicated they plan to stay with their current employers in the coming year. This is a significant 45-point swing from the results of the 2011 employee survey, in which 65% of respondents indicated they were thinking of leaving. Are all of these employees truly satisfied? Or are they merely "making do" with their current employers because of a difficult job market? Consider that nearly a third (31%) of surveyed employees report they are dissatisfied with their jobs. And at least one group of employees is at much greater risk of leaving.
Given these results, employers may be tempted to become complacent about employee retention. However, if they want to keep critical employees, we suggest employers pay close attention to who is staying and why, and who is at most risk for leaving and their reasons.