One in Three U.S. Workers Wants to Leave Job, Mercer Survey Says

About one-third of U.S. workers are considering leaving their jobs, with younger workers most likely to quit, according to human-resources consultant Mercer LLC.

A survey of 2,400 workers found 32 percent are “seriously considering” leaving his or her organization, up from 23 percent in 2005. Another 21 percent said they view their employers unfavorably and don’t feel engaged at work, though they don’t want to leave, according to a statement today.

Dissatisfaction is growing as workers think they are getting less out of their employment. Workers satisfied with base pay dropped to 53 percent from 58 percent in 2005, according to Mercer. Sixty-eight percent of employees rate their overall benefits as good or very good, down from 76 percent.

“They feel less attached to the organization emotionally and psychologically, and they don’t necessarily believe that the organization they work for has their best interests in mind,” said Jason Jeffay, a senior partner at Mercer.

Among employees 25 to 34 years old, 40 percent are contemplating leaving their jobs. Among employees 24 and younger, the figure is 44 percent, Mercer said.

Depressed housing prices and underwater mortgages mean older workers, who are more likely to own a home, are less mobile than they once were, Jeffay said. This means they are less able to seek out jobs and pursue the most satisfying one.

Young Americans

“Their ability to relocate, which has traditionally been a strength of the American labor market, is no longer a factor,” Jeffay said in an interview.

Young U.S. workers tend to be more optimistic about opportunities outside of their current employer, according to Stacey Randall, chief consultant at the Charlotte, North Carolina-based SBR Consulting LLC. A recent SBR study found that 70 percent of workers 21 to 30 years old said there is a possibility they will change jobs once the economy improves.

“They have bills to think about, but they are more mobile than other demographics,” Randall said. “They’ve been riding out the recession and recovery, like everybody else.”

Randall’s advice to workers hoping to change jobs in the near future: “Network, be prepared and save.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Devin Banerjee in New York at dbanerjee2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at pelstrom@bloomberg.net

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