Even Happy Employees Go Job-Hunting in January

by Salary.com Staff - Original publish date: February 2, 2012

January is Prime Job Hunting Time---But You Might Be Surprised to See Who's Applying

"This year I will find a new/better job."

It is perhaps the most popular New Year's resolution, right up there with losing weight, quitting smoking and going back to school. Whether it's unemployed people trying to find their way back to the workforce or those who are currently employed attempting an upgrade to greener pastures, as the calendar turns to a new year many people set their sights on job-hunting.

But before you start networking and hitting the job boards, check out the results of our recent survey, taken by more than 2,400 people, that sheds some light on who will be job-searching this January and why.

Can Employees Get Some Satisfaction?

Before anyone starts tallying January job-hunters, the obvious question is how many of them are fed up with their current jobs and why.

Even though the national unemployment rate is hovering just below 9 percent, a large percentage of people we surveyed are dissatisfied in their current positions.

Almost half of everyone we surveyed---43 percent of people---said they are not happy in their current jobs.

Maybe Money CAN Buy Happiness

Armed with the knowledge that so many workers are unhappy in their jobs, we wanted to find out why. So we asked them.

Not surprisingly, money (or a lack thereof) topped the list of complaints. Of the people we surveyed, 67 percent said they want to leave their current position because of an insufficient salary.

Additionally, it looks like end-of-the-year raises and bonuses play a big part in that decision, as 29 percent of people said the lack of a raise or bonus during the holidays directly contributed to their decision to look for a new job.

But Money Isn't Everything

While money topped the list of complaints, workers we surveyed showed they care deeply about other facets of their jobs.

Sixty percent of people we surveyed claimed they are dissatisfied because there is little to no possibility of advancement. Meanwhile, half of the respondents said they are underappreciated, and 35 percent complained they are overworked.

Also, 27 percent of those surveyed said they lack an adequate work/life balance and have to deal with horrible bosses.

On the Prowl

Even though only 43 percent of people said they are unhappy with their current occupation, 48 percent of respondents told us they actively looked for another job in 2011. When asked if they will look for a new job in 2012, that number jumped considerably to 56 percent.

But despite the increased number of job-seekers expected this year, the Los Angeles Times recently cited a survey which found only 23 percent of companies plan on hiring full-time, permanent employees in 2012.

That means setting yourself apart with personal branding and mastering interview techniques has become more important than ever.

Will You Stay?

Although more than half of the people we surveyed said they hope to leave their current jobs, many of them said they might change their minds if certain improvements are made.

Not surprisingly, most people---75 percent---said they want more money in the form of raises and/or bonuses. But clarification and peace of mind are also high up on the priority list, as 35 percent said they need their employers to set clearer goals, 33 percent are desperately seeking a better work/life balance and more time with their families and 27 percent of people would stay if they were allowed to work from home.

Asking for more money or other workplace perks isn't easy, but our podcasts are filled with experts who offer free salary tips and negotiation advice.

The Grass is Always Greener to Some

Fifty-seven percent of people said they are happy and content in their current jobs. But that doesn't necessarily mean they're standing pat.

Of the people who reported being satisfied at their current jobs, 31 percent said they actively searched for another job in 2011. Furthermore, 32 percent said they plan to keep searching for a new job in 2012.

So it's not just those who are fed up or unhappy who are seeking out new careers.

Older Workers Getting Antsy

While younger workers have gained a reputation for job-hopping, our survey indicates those in the mid to late stages of their careers are the ones looking for new jobs.

Thirty-four percent of workers age 46-55 are looking to switch jobs in 2012, followed by 27 percent of people between the ages of 36-45.

Less than one-quarter---20 percent---of those in the 26- to 35-year-old age group are actively seeking a new job this year, while a mere 3 percent of young workers between the ages of 18-25 said they plan to change careers.

New Year, Same Reliable Salary.com

It doesn't matter what time of year it is or whether you're new to the workforce or a grizzled veteran, Salary.com has all the tools to help you with your job search.

Whether it's one of our podcasts, an article on the best resume tips to get you hired, or advice from our salary negotiation experts, we've got everything you need to help get you noticed, get the interview and get you hired.

And if you're having trouble figuring out what you want to do next, we've even got some Dream Jobs to help you get started.

Make 2012 count!

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The Unwritten Rules of the Highly Effective Job Search