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Employee leverage increases as labor market strengthens

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Employee leverage increases as labor market strengthens

Work-life balance and career experiences key for employers scrambling to attract top talent.

Despite a stronger labor market, employees have mixed feelings about the condition of the global economy and are less likely to seek out new jobs, according to CEB, a best practice insight and technology company. Recent research from the company indicates that fewer than one-in-four employees (23%) are actively searching for a job, and more than 40% plan to stay with their current employer for the next 12 months. This is making it increasingly difficult for employers to find and convince candidates to make a move, and is giving employees more power in employment discussions.

"This is not about building a gym or having a drycleaner on site."

"We saw a shift in power in Q4 from employer to employee," said Brian Kropp, HR practice leader, CEB. "Employees see a more robust labor market, but they aren't compelled to make a change. In fact, last quarter we saw a higher premium on stability than we have in the past. This suggests that employees would rather bet on 'the devil they know' than gamble on the unknown of a new job, making it far more difficult for recruiters to source top talent."

In Q4 the global divide deepened related to employee perceptions of their personal job prospects:

  • Latin America, now in the throes of recession, experienced steep declines in employee optimism. Workers in Brazil and Mexico in particular made dramatic exits from job seeking with drops of 12.5% and 11.7% respectively.
  • Workers in Asia remained most optimistic about the job market, coming in four percent higher (53.6%) than the global average (49.3%). Despite high marks, optimism trended downward, likely tied to market volatility in China. Even with unprecedented market shifts, employees in the region—including those in India, Malaysia and Indonesia—were some of the most active job seekers in the world.  
  • Europe stood in stark contrast to Latin America and even Asia when it came to job prospects. Employees in the region were increasingly optimistic and have been enjoying an upward trend for three consecutive quarters. Despite brighter possibilities though, Europeans were of like mind with Latin American employees when it came to their current employers—they're staying put.

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