More Employees are Job Hunting Despite Being Happier at Work

by Staff - Original publish date: January 13, 2014

This Year's Survey Results are In

If you saw the number of workers looking for new jobs has risen, you’d probably think it’s because employees are unhappy where they are. But you’d be wrong.

An annual survey by found there was a sharp increase in employee satisfaction in 2013, yet the percentage of people looking for new jobs continued to rise. This new information is part of’s annual “January Job Hunters” survey, which was taken by more than 1,200 people regarding their current jobs as well as plans to search for a new job in 2014.

Read on to see what this year’s survey says about the current state of mind of American workers.

The Nation's Mood Swings

Last year’s survey returned one eye-popping statistic – an exceedingly unhappy workforce.

Last year, 69% of respondents said they were unhappy in their current job – an increase of 26% over the previous year. But perhaps this year saw more stability, because that number dropped to 46% again in 2013.

While the economy isn’t recovering as quickly as we’d all like, it is moving in the right direction. The stock market is doing better, housing prices are rising, unemployment is dropping (although a portion of that is people dropping out of the labor force entirely), and hiring has picked up again. All of which likely explains the fact that people are generally happier in their jobs.

Job Hunting is on the Rise -- Again!

Even though workers are happier, that doesn’t mean they’re content to stay where they’re at.

For the third year in a row, the number of employees planning to search for a new job in the coming year has risen. Eighty-three percent of people surveyed said they will look for a new job in 2014 – up 6% from last year. And once again, it’s older workers ages 51-60 who are most anxious for a new job, with 85% planning to job hunt. Young people 18-25 are the most likely to stay put, with 67% planning to engage in job search this year.

Employees are Searching Often

If you’re wondering how often people job search, the answer is “more than ever.”

A total of 23% of respondents said they look for a new job every single day. That’s up 6% from last year. Most people – 26% -- reported job hunting a few times a week while 16% said once a week, 10% said once a month, and 9% said every few months.

Furthermore, 27% of respondents admitted to searching for a new job during work hours in their current position.

Resumes at the Ready

More people are keeping their resumes updated and ready to be deployed.

Of those surveyed, 18% said they update their resumes on a weekly basis – up 3% from a year ago. Furthermore, 27% said they’ve tinkered with their resume within the last month, and 17% have done so within the last 3 months. Eighteen percent updated their resumes between 6-12 months ago, and another 18% said it’s been more than a year since touching their resumes.

More Online Applications, More Job Interviews

Not only are the people we surveyed preparing their resumes, this year they’re using them.

A third of employee last year said they were actively posting their resumes online and applying to jobs via the Internet, but that number has risen to 39% this year. Also, last year nearly half (43%) of those surveyed said it’s been more than a year since posting a resume online. This year that number dropped to 26%.

And when it comes to going on job interviews, 38% said they’ve been on an interview within the last three months. That’s up from 27% over last year.

Why Do Employees Want to Leave?

Now that we know 83% of people are looking to leave the job they’re currently in, it’s important to figure out what’s making them look to jump ship.

As you might guess, money (or a lack thereof) is a main concern. But while 16% of this year’s respondents cited money as their top concern, that’s down 8% from last year. Now, with increased employee satisfaction, it appears other things are driving employees out of their jobs. Have a look at the list:

Happy with job: 18%
Low pay: 16%
No possibility of advancement: 15%
Underappreciated: 13%
Not challenged: 8%
Hate boss: 5%
Work/Life balance: 5%
Job stress: 4%
Overworked: 3%
Benefits: 2%
Bad coworkers: 1%

What Will Get Workers to Stay?

When asked what would get them to stay put, the answer is, again, unsurprising. Money tops the list for the third year in a row, but again the percentage of people who chose it is down from 36% last year to 29% this year. Meanwhile, other areas – such as work/life balance – have an added emphasis.

Here’s the list of what workers would need to stay:

A raise: 29%
Better work/life balance: 10%
New boss: 9%
Clearer goals: 8%
Flex scheduling: 5%
Better benefits: 4%
More recognition: 3%

Twenty-five percent of those surveyed selected “other.”

It's Not ALL About the Benjamins

There’s no getting around the fact that our salaries and how much we earn play a big part in what jobs we accept and why. But it’s becoming apparent that money really isn’t everything.

Of the people who plan on job hunting in 2014, 50% received raises last year. That means half of everyone who plans on looking for a job actually received more money in the past 12 months. And beyond that 28% of the people job hunting this year said they are perfectly content in their positions.

As priorities shift, employers will have to adapt to what employees really want if they want to retain valuable workers.

Check Out the 2014 January Job Hunters Infographic

Here's a quick breakdown of some of this year's data in infographic form.

Know Your Worth & Negotiate Your Salary

Whether you're content in your current job or looking to switch things up, the one thing you'll always need is to be paid fairly. Luckily, can help.

The first thing you should do is research, so you're able to come to the table armed with the knowledge of what your job is worth. Use our free Salary Wizard below to find out what's a fair salary for your position. You can enter your location, education level, years of experience and more to find out an appropriate salary range before you negotiate.

Good luck.