Why workers stay in a job they hate – the results will surprise you!

New research from Hired entitled ‘The Opportunity Index‘ found that most people would rather stay in a job they dislike because the job search process is simply too stressful – it seems that some would rather go through root canal surgery than risk changing jobs.



Global talent shortage

According to ManPower Group’s 2016-2017 Talent Shortage Survey, 40% of hiring managers report having difficulty filling jobs, up 2% from 2015, and the highest recorded since 2007. The problem seemingly isn’t a lack of candidates; it’s a clear lack of relevant candidates.

According to Lever’s Recruiting Benchmarks 2016, only 1 in 100 candidates for any given role is ever hired, with 45% of all candidates marked as ‘underqualified’ by hiring stakeholders – and nearly 7 out of 10 executives surveyed by Deloitte University Press say they have a high level of concern about simply retaining critical talent.

In fact, 80% of hiring managers surveyed by ManPower Group believe most top management challenges stem from a shortage of skilled talent — including finding highly-skilled people (28%), rising costs (27%), and holding onto experienced staff (25%).


What is going wrong with the Job Search?

To uncover why the job search — and hiring process — is so broken, Hired commissioned an online survey conducted by Harris Poll to survey 2,557 full-time employed adults aged 18 or older in the US, the UK, and Australia.


Exactly where IS the talent?

Why are the right workers so hard to find?  Are experienced workers staying where they are out of job satisfaction?  It seems not, people are daydreaming about new jobs, but not acting, as respondents admitted:

  • 1 in 5 daydreams about leaving their current job on a weekly basis,
  • nearly half admit they daydream about leaving their job every month.
  • despite this, only 14% of respondents are actively looking for a new job.


Stress puts candidates off

It seems that talent is put off by stress.  Eight in 10 working adults (83%) globally say looking for a job is at least somewhat stressful, with 39% feeling it’s very stressful. Women are more likely than men to say looking for a job is stressful (86% vs 81%) and Boomers and older (aged 52 or older) (88%) are more likely than any other generations (Millennials aged 18-36) (79%) and (Gen Xers aged 37-51) (83%) to say looking for a job is stressful

With 83% of respondents saying they viewed the job search process negatively, they were asked to consider how this compared to other stresses – the result were surprising:


Things respondents said were LESS stressful than finding a new job:

  • moving home
  • planning a wedding
  • public speaking
  • being trapped in an elevator
  • doing taxes
  • spending a weekend with in-laws and even

Respondents describe the job search as ‘time-consuming’, ‘frustrating’ and ‘anxiety-inducing’.

The most stressful parts of the process were actually starting a new job, and attending an interview, with uncertainty about the new job being a better fit being close behind.


How can recruiters overcome this?

It seems that job seekers want more tailored support.  Many working adults find themselves not only stressed about the job search process, but also feeling unequipped to navigate the job search. This is illuminated by the top requests for making the job search easier, which primarily revolve around receiving more relevant and personalized information. The vast majority of working adults (85%) feel like something could make the job search process easier for them, including:

  • getting matched with companies who would be a good fit for their skills and interests (45%);
  • help finding jobs that better match their interests and/or skillset (36%); and
  • knowing more about exciting companies with relevant opportunities (29%).


Workers choose happiness over salary

While 42% of working adults say they love their jobs, most employed adults (66%) would still take a pay cut to be happier at work — to the tune of 8% (on average) of their current salary. In fact, two out of three working adults (66%) say they would take a pay cut of at least 1% to be happier at work, with more than 1 in 10 (11%) saying they would take a cut of 20% or more to be happy at work. Of all generations surveyed, millennials are the most likely to say they would a pay cut for happiness at work (millennials, 78%; gen Xers, 63%; boomer or older, 55%).


Opportunity is why talent leaves

When asked why they left their last job, respondents who have worked at more than one company over the course of their career said “because the opportunity was too good to pass up,” followed by “I was being underpaid” (both 26%), followed by “limited opportunity for advancement” (21%).What’s interesting about these findings is that two of the top three reasons for leaving a job have to do with the perceived lack of opportunity; first, they were presented with greater opportunity than their current position provided, and second, that there was no perceived opportunity left for them in their current company.  Hired’s conclusion is that people no longer look for jobs, they look for ‘opportunities’, and recruiters need to utilise modern hiring technology to faciliate opportunity and engage talent.

“Today’s job search serves more as an impediment to opportunity than a facilitator of it, “ says Hired CEO Mehul Patel. “It doesn’t have to be this way. Technology is rapidly evolving the way we work, providing increased efficiency, relevance, collaboration, and more. This very same technology can — and should — help people find jobs right for their skills and interests, and help companies find the people they need to succeed. When people love what they do, everyone wins.”



Author: Editorial Team

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