Should Employers Prepare For Mass Exodus?

A majority of American workers plan to start looking for a new job in the recovery.

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It's kind of a Yogi Berra thing to say: "Everyone's going to lose their employees when the recession's over." But the results of a survey released today show the majority of working Americans are planning to launch a job hunt when the economy turns around.

According to Adecco's latest workplace survey, 54 percent are getting ready to start looking elsewhere. No surprise really that the itch to move on is highest among the youngest workers. Adecco reports 71 percent of 18-to-29 year olds plan to look for a new job in the recovery.

There are likely a couple of things at work here. American workers have displayed a growing proclivity for job-hopping in recent decades, and the recession has forced most to take a break from their otherwise unending search for new/better/different work. Job-hopping is greatest among younger workers, whose career plans have been rather upended by the economic downturn, and will likely jump at opportunities in the recovery with a vengeance. 

Also, many American companies have done themselves no small amount of harm (in talent retention) during the downturn. The recovery may be hardest for employers that clipped wages, slashed payrolls, snipped benefits--and neglected to preserve a healthy workplace morale.

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