The “Big Stay” might not be here to stay as employees grow restless in their jobs.
According to PwC’s Global Workforce Hopes and Fears survey released Monday, a sizable number of employees are keeping an eye out for better job opportunities despite a slowing economy and fewer job openings. Twenty-six percent of survey respondents say they will likely change jobs in the next year, up from 19% of respondents in 2022. And those sentiments are even higher among Gen Zers (35%) and millennials (31%).
The findings suggest a changing tide could be imminent despite recent job numbers showing a decline in people voluntarily leaving their employers. HR software company ADP reported a 2.4% decline in quit rates in April 2023, close to February 2020’s rate of 2.3%. While some more risk-averse employees are opting to stay put due to economic uncertainty, others predict the job-hopping rewards will outweigh the risks.
PwC’s workforce transformation practice lead Anthony Abbatiello points to three possible motivators for job changes in the coming year: rising personal expenses, a desire for career growth and development opportunities, and work-life balance.
Though inflation is beginning to cool in certain areas, workers are feeling the financial strain from increased costs of services like childcare. One in five survey respondents says they have an extra job besides their primary role. And 42% say that after paying monthly expenses, they have little left over for savings or emergencies, up from 37% in 2022.
Opportunities for learning and development have also risen in importance for employees strategizing their long-term career goals. “[Employees] are looking for new roles that can provide them with more challenging and rewarding work,” Abbatiello tells Fortune.
Lastly, he says, employees are still yearning for more stability in their work and home lives—a desire the pandemic heightened. “Many employees are looking for roles that offer more flexibility and allow them to better balance their work and personal lives,” says Abbatiello. That’s especially true with caregiving responsibilities.
So what’s HR to do? Get creative and beef up development opportunities, he says. Provide upskilling programs, access to treasured benefits like career coaching, and instate job rotations to keep employees engaged and stimulated. Now is also the time to double down on targeted well-being programs and flexible work arrangements.
“Foster conditions that make your employees feel safe to test, learn, and even fail, without fear of reprisal,” says Abbatiello. “Model these values, and encourage people to take risks and attack problems in unconventional ways.”
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Employees are working fewer hours, but it might not be by choice. The average number of weekly hours private-sector employees worked dropped to 34.3 in May, below the 2019 average and down from a January 2021 peak of 35 hours, per the Labor Department.
“This could be ominous. With growth now slowing—and by one measure, negative—some employers might be responding by cutting hours, perhaps in preparation for recession.” —Wall Street Journal
Around the Table
A round-up of the most important HR headlines, studies, podcasts, and long-reads.
– Women in leadership roles experience ageism on the job regardless of their age. Harvard Business Review
– Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) launched an investigation into allegations of unsafe working conditions at Amazon. Bloomberg
– Companies are adopting increasingly creative—or desperate—measures to get employees back to the office. New York Times
– Most S&P 500 companies say the average employee received a raise last year. Wall Street Journal
– Amazon expected to have 50,000 employees at its new Virginia offices. It’s now projecting just 8,000 by this fall. CNBC
Everything you need to know from Fortune.
Slacking off. Slack reportedly wants to rehire some employees it laid off in January as it prepares to redouble A.I. efforts. —Kylie Robison
Stressed out of office. A lack of daily structure causes remote and hybrid employees to report higher levels of workplace stress compared to fully in-person workers, according to Gallup research. —Chloe Berger
Skills over degrees. Skills-first hiring could “increase the global talent pool by nearly 10-fold,” says a LinkedIn vice president. —Orianna Rosa Royle
Hide-and-seek. Employees are hiding the fact they use A.I. on the job to the detriment of their employers. —Steve Mollman
Health is wealth. Life spans could increase by 12 years in 2040; employer health care benefits could help boost that number. —Erin Prater
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