New Study: Employees Gearing up to Leave Jobs: Looking for Companies that Share Their Passions, Encourage Work-Life Balance

Turnover is coming as U.S. employees gear up to leave their jobs for new opportunities. According to the 2019 Emerging Workforce Study commissioned by Spherion, 29% of employees are planning to leave their jobs in the next 12 months. The risk of turnover increases for Millennials, with 38% of this group reporting they are planning to leave their current jobs in the next 12 months.  

Dissatisfaction with work-life balance and compensation are chief drivers of turnover. Significant numbers of employees surveyed (42%) report they are not happy with their current salaries, and a majority of employees (62%) say flexibility at work and other work-life balance programs and perks have decreased in the last year. Only 19% of employees feel their companies have put in more effort to retain them this year.

While employees believe employers are doing less to keep them, more employers say they are worried about their workforces than in previous years. A majority of employers (71%) report being more worried this year about the talent shortage, citing finding qualified/skilled workers and turnover/retention as top concerns. Employers are also worried about worker engagement: only one-third believe their employees are highly engaged; yet, almost half (48%) of employees say they are highly engaged at work, indicating a disconnect between employers and their employees.

“Employers need to proactively pursue ways to get more aligned with what employees want and need and what drives them,” said Spherion President Rebecca Rogers Tijerino. “With the incredibly tight labor market, it’s even more important for employers to evolve their approaches to recruiting and engaging employees so they can attract the right talent and win in the marketplace.”

For their part, employees are clear about what they want and need at work. The survey reveals that 62% of employees want to work for a company that shares their passions, and 58% want to work for a company that advocates for causes they care about personally. Yet, many employers aren’t hearing it. Almost half of employees (44%) report having difficulties finding a company that offers them opportunities to pursue their passions.

Other employer-employee disconnects identified in this year’s study include:

  • Performance Reviews: Employees want real-time feedback, yet most employers (58%) still conduct performance reviews just once per year. Almost one-fifth of employees (18%) say their employers don’t do performance reviews.
  • Compensation: Employees’ satisfaction with their compensation declined for the second year in a row. Almost three-fourths of employers believe they offer their employees enough non-financial incentives to compensate for lower wages. Employees disagree. Younger generations especially aren’t buying it with more than one-third of Millennials saying they can find a different job that will pay more.
  • Skills Gap: Employees are feeling more confident about their skills than they were last year; however, few think their current skills are enough to help them attain a promotion. Even fewer believe their employers provide adequate training to help them keep their skills up to date. There is also a big disconnect between employees and employers on the importance of specific skills such as interpersonal skills and the need for evolving technology expertise.

The 2019 Emerging Workforce Study was conducted online by Research Now. For more than two decades, the study has tracked changing trends and attitudes of both employees and their employers. Other topics in this year’s study include: workplace discrimination, employee advocacy, automation, the skills gap, recruitment and retention.

The 2019 Emerging Workforce Study was conducted online within the United States in March 2019 by Research Now Group, Inc., on behalf of Spherion, in two phases. First, among 731 human resource managers, with results weighted as needed to reflect the composition of U.S. companies, based on company revenue. Secondly, among 2,115 employed adults, with results weighted as needed for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income to represent the target population. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About Spherion 
Spherion ( is a leading recruiting and staffing provider, specializing in temporary and direct hire placement of administrative, clerical, customer service, light industrial and professional job candidates. To help clients attract, engage and retain a high-performance workforce, Spherion offers in-depth market knowledge, outstanding customer service, a strong network of talent and unique insights from its groundbreaking Emerging Workforce® Study, now in its 22nd year. As an industry pioneer, Spherion has, for more than 70 years, matched candidates to clients in virtually every industry across the U.S. Today, each Spherion office is independently owned and operated by a team of local specialists, dedicated to delivering great experiences, powered by technology but always with a personal touch. To learn more about one of the nation’s fastest-growing industries, visit

Media contacts:

Rebecca Harbin
[email protected]

Gail Ferro
[email protected]