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Here's What Your Employees Are Looking for in Their Next Jobs


With the national unemployment rate at less than 5 percent, workers are more optimistic about the opportunities that await them outside their employers' walls.

Thomas Barwick | Getty Images

Today, Aon Hewitt has released its annual Workforce Mindset Study, a survey of more than 2,000 U.S. employees about their experiences at work. Among the findings is a couple of staggering statistics: 52 percent of employees are open to leaving their current employers, and 44 percent of those in that group are already actively seeking new jobs.

Related: Why More Than Half of Your Employees Are Looking for a New Job

Employers have to stay competitive, and that means understanding what sets them apart. The same factors that drive away employees from their current jobs entice them to pursue new ones, so it’s imperative to think about not simply retaining talent, but attracting new hires.

Aon surveyed employees about what they expect from a workplace, and the most important characteristic the respondents highlighted was valuable career and development opportunities. But the researchers draw a line between what employees expect and what they find differentiates one workplace from another. Among the differentiators highlighted, “provides above average pay,” “provides above average benefits,” “is a fun place to work,” “has a flexible work environment” and “is a strong fit with my values” were most prominent.

Communication is also key to employees when evaluating work environments. It’s among five rising differentiators the researchers identified, and those who say communication is open and honest are nearly 15 times more likely to be engaged at work. If their employers encourage them to share their opinions and ideas, they are 11 times more likely to be engaged.

And be mindful that employees have different desires depending on how old they are. For example:

  • Baby boomers are less concerned with career advancement opportunities than members of younger generations.
  • Gen Xers and boomers are more likely to desire more robust benefits than millennials.
  • Boomers are most likely to seek improvements in pay and recognition.
  • The average gen Xer wants better leadership.
  • Millennials are more likely to value fun.

Related: 11 Rebellious and Fun Songs for When You Hate Your Job

The bottom line: Employers should strive to provide advancement opportunities and listen to their employees. Give your employees feedback often and think about how to reward them for performing well.
Lydia Belanger

Written By

Lydia Belanger is a former associate editor at Entrepreneur. Follow her on Twitter: @LydiaBelanger.