Two Out of Three Employees at Large Companies Looking for the Exit Sign

Two Out of Three Employees at Large Companies Looking for the Exit SignA stronger economy may actually be fueling a growing concern among employers about retaining top talent, according to the results of a new Deloitte study.  With the economy improving, nearly two out of three (65 percent) employees surveyed are actively testing the job market, according to the Deloitte study, “Talent Edge 2020: Building the Recovery TogetherWhat Talent Expects and How Leaders Are Responding.

Despite the sobering news, dissatisfied employees are transparent about their leading turnover drivers, providing executives and talent managers with a clear picture of the most effective employee retention strategies.  When asked to list their top three retention incentives, 53 percent of the respondents ranked promotion/job advancement first, followed by increased compensation at 39 percent, and additional bonuses or other financial incentives at 34 percent.  Boosting employee support/recognition from their managers, a non-financial incentive, was also ranked as an effective retention tactic by a strong 30 percent of the surveyed employees.    

“We’re living in a world where each generation in the workforce has vastly different goals, expectations, and desires,” said Jeff Schwartz, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP and U.S. Talent Services leader.  “As employees eye the exit signs following a hard hitting recession, employers need to tailor and target their talent strategies to satisfy each employee group from baby boomers to millennials.”  

Some other key findings from the report include:

  • Baby boomers, among all workforce generations surveyed, expressed the strongest discontent with their employers and the greatest frustration that their loyalty and hard work has been neither recognized nor rewarded.  
    • Almost one-third (32 percent) of baby boomers surveyed say a lack of trust in leadership is a top turnover trigger—the highest ranking by any workforce generation.  
  • Generation X employees are clearly the group most likely to be looking at exit strategies from their current jobs.  
    • Citing lack of career progress as a top exit trigger (65 percent), only 28 percent of Gen X employees surveyed expect to stay with their current employers—a clear signal to employers to expect a significant exodus by employees viewed future leaders.
  • Millennials exhibit a sharply different view of a strong corporate culture, as compared to other generations.  
    • By a more than two-to-one ratio (32 percent to 13 percent), millennials regard their employers’ commitment to “corporate responsibility/volunteerism” to be very important, as compared to baby boomers.  Millennials are also nearly three times more likely to say a “fun work environment” is important compared to baby boomers (55 percent to 19 percent).
  • Employees who plan to stay with their current employers (35 percent) say their companies have strong talent programs, characterized by clear career paths, leadership development initiatives, trust and confidence in corporate leadership, superior programs to retain top talent, and effective communication.

Amidst predictions of critical talent shortages globally, Deloitte cites clear and actionable strategies employers can implement to deliver leading talent programs and keep top talent committed to their jobs, excited about their career prospects, and confident in their corporate leadership.  

“Firms can separate themselves from their competitors if they step up their talent programs now and refine their strategies to engage workers and to focus on specific employee needs,” says Schwartz.

About the Survey

Talent Edge 2020: Building the Recovery TogetherWhat Talent Expects and How Leaders Are Responding” is part of Deloitte’s survey series conducted in collaboration with Forbes Insights. The survey was taken by 356 employees at large companies with annual sales exceeding $500 million, with more than three in four respondents at companies with more than $1 billion in annual sales.  For more information on Deloitte’s “Talent Edge 2020: Building the recovery together—What talent expects and how leaders are responding” report, please visit:

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