Job-hopping heats up: 65% of U.S. workers are looking for a new job

August 20, 2021, 9:00 AM UTC

Nearly two-thirds of workers are on the hunt for a new job—and they’re getting them. Nearly nine out of 10 company executives say they are seeing higher-than-normal turnover at the organizations, according to a new survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The number of workers looking for a new job has almost doubled since spring. About 64% reported they were seeking a new job at the start of August, when PwC surveyed 1,007 full-time and part-time U.S.-based employees and 752 executives. That’s up from 36% of workers in May.

That’s a “significant” jump, Neil Dhar, PwC’s chief clients officer, said Thursday. “Simply put, many workforces are just tired, and they’re looking for change.” Hispanic and Black employees are more likely to be looking—82% and 67%, respectively—than white workers, about 57% of whom cited a desire for a new job. 

The biggest reason for the job search for many is a better salary, with 46% of women saying better pay was the biggest driver compared to 34% of men. 

Many companies are recognizing this and increasing the pay rates on certain jobs. Wall Street firms Bank of America, Barclays, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Morgan Stanley have all raised the salaries of their first-year analysts this year.

Many retailers and restaurant chains, including Costco, Chipotle, McDonald’s, and Under Armour, have also boosted their minimum wages to $15 or more to entice workers. 

After salary, workers cited better benefits and career advancement as the other top motivators. A significant number of executives correctly said they believed salary was the top motivator, but few realized benefits were a major motivator. 

“For the most part, executives have a good grasp on why their employees are looking elsewhere. But when it comes to offering incentives that employees want most, they’re falling short,” Dhar said, adding that employees are demanding more tangible rewards. He recommended companies not only offer better compensation, but also consider providing reimagined benefits that prioritize flexibility and well-being, for example.

“Employees have been clear that they deeply, deeply value nonmonetary benefits like expanded flexibility, career growth, well-being, and upskilling,” Dhar said.

While it’s hard to predict if the U.S. will continue to see such high rates of job-hopping, Dhar said Thursday that it will likely vary by industry. Some sectors, like financial services, may have already hit the peak job search. Others, like technology, likely have not hit the peak, and these numbers continue to go high. 

“The bottom line here,” Dhar said, “is that the employee seems to have the power at the moment.”

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