Do you have one foot out the door?

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The economy is beginning to improve, and — for the first time in a few years — you may be thinking of leaving your employer for a new job.

In fact, according to a survey released last week by Mercer LLC, a global consulting company, 40 percent of employees ages 25 to 34, and 44 percent of those 24 and younger say they are currently considering a job change.

But, if you’ve got one foot out the office door, you may want to pull it back inside. (Quick, before anyone sees!) Why? Because your employer may be more willing than ever to give you an incentive to stay.

“Employers are concerned about losing their top performers because as the economy improves, new positions are available for employees to take advantage of,” says Tina Chen, vice president of operations at The Wilson Companies, a firm that provides outsourced human resources services to businesses nationwide. And, when an employee — especially a top one — leaves a company, it can put strain on the company in a number of ways, stress that many employers would rather avoid.

 “When it comes to losing talent, it is not just about losing your top employees but also about losing the relationships the employees have built with clients, with other members of your staff, and lastly the loyalty and trust that they have gained in your company,” Chen says.  “Losing a top performer is like losing a small piece of the heartbeat of your business.”

In addition to the stress that losing a great employee puts on an employer, replacing that employee can also prove challenging, Chen says. “The solution is no longer as easy as just hiring a replacement but rather, searching for the missing integral pieces that would complete the puzzle of your company.”

As an employee, all of this boils down to one thing for you: that your employer might rather give you a raise or promotion, or concede to a more flexible schedule than see you walk out the door.

Now, before you go barging into your boss’s office demanding a raise (‘Now that the job market it looking up a bit, if you don’t pay me more, I’m going to find someone who will!’), there are a few factors to consider. Namely, what’s motivating your desire to change jobs. If it truly is just a matter of wanting a raise or promotion, then it’s worth it to have “the talk” with your boss. If you don’t like the company or want to explore new career options, then your job satisfaction probably won’t increase just because your salary does.

If you do decide that your career needs could possibly be met by your current employer, the next thing to do is prepare a case for yourself, Chen says. “The employee should think the conversation through prior to approaching the employer because it is never certain where the conversation will go; the employee should chart out where they are, where they want to be, and how they can get there. If it is a matter of money, they need to justify it with examples of their work, positive contributions to the company, and if they have increased revenue or saved the company money during their tenure,” she says.

Also, keep in mind that you don’t need to mention that you will be looking around for other jobs if you don’t get what you’re asking for. Just expressing that you’re not satisfied with your current pay, job level, schedule, etc., should be enough to tip off your boss that you may look elsewhere if your needs aren’t met.

“Many times, top performing employees have an open relationship with their employers,” Chen says. “The employer is more likely to hear the employee out and consider what the employee has to say because they would like to retain the employee within their organization.”

Good luck!

For more on job change, see:

As the economy strengthens, so does employees’ resolve to change jobs

Best and worst states for job seekers

Is job hopping the new normal?

7 Comments
  1. Total B.S. — Our top workers are willing to leave and never look back. Our employer only promotes slackers, weasels, and “yes” men/women. Education, experience, etc doesn’t matter – good work doesn’t matter – it’s not who you know – it’s who you blow! (Better get out the knee-pads!)

    • I hear Ya tortured, In many cases it is similar to what you say, and people are finding it increasingly difficult to have “The talk” with the boss. The big problem now as I see it is ever since the economy downturned, it won’t matter how much money the corporation makes on the rebound, they’ll forever beat the new drumline of “Well, we’d like to give you more money, but in this economy”. I knew it the moment all the d-bags who ran our country into the ground with their corporate greed, that this would screw over all of us who have worked for years in any line of work. Now the f***ers want to tell everyone, well feel free to work 50-60 hour workweeks to make what we should be paying you for 40 and if you don’t like that, there’s the door. Unfortunately, the days are gone where they give a crap about the workers, they really don’t. They look at us now more as an inconvenience or liability, with our pathetic little lives and families and “Wanting more” as they put it. The people who play golf with the boss, and are the yes men make more than some who’ve put in years of work and always spoken highly of the company they work for, they get shafted. Bottom line, they’d rather pay three guys 9 dollars an hour, rather than one guy who knows what he’s doing and has been there for a long time, that way they can bullwhip them into working their fingers to the bone, not asking for any raise for fear of losing their jobs, and coming in on weekends and holidays to make the bottom line fatter for the handful of people up top who reap the benefits of the profit margin. Oh, and they get perks for treating people this way, by the way. Yeah, thanks corporate America for taking away any f-ing incentive to try harder and to care or be proud of their jobs! I also don’t see this ending in our lifetimes.

    • AMEN. I work for a Dexter Chassis Group and its exactly that way. Perfect examples, 1 guy is a complete slacker and didnt do anything but hang out in the bathroom for a hr at a time just to keep form working. They made him a group leader. They made our current supervisor came form a different plant that was shut down and instead of letting him go cuase he is a moron and doesnt know anything at all, he is now our supervisor. They laid off or fired most of our good workers and kept the worst of the worst. Now we are goona lose our main customer that porvides 90% OF OUR BUISINESS becuase they let the good purchasing agent go and put in this idiot that doesnt get us our material until its a month OVERDUE for shipment!!!! Yea this report is BS. Man whomever wrote or came up with this needs to share their drugs!!!!!!!!

  2. It’s true what you say. in my experience there’s more nepotism than anything else. wives working with husbands, sons working with mothers, cousins, nieces, and nephews…all getting a leg up without having to work for it. I’ve been on the job for 11 years and this company has made sure I didn’t shoot up the ladder, I have crept up and I haven’t gained all that much, but somehow they find a way to justify hiring a total loser who has absolutely no knowledge, talent or drive and pay them triple what I’m getting….oh yeah…let’s not forget the tuition benefits (that’s the main reason to hire family). I do all the work and they receive all the credit and money. on the flip side, they’re phasing out all of the workers who have built the company with their blood, sweat, and dedication (while putting up with all types of discrimination) only to replace them with a bunch of prissy know nothings who can afford to sit back and enjoy the free ride

  3. People can gripe all they want about this, but it isn’t going to change any time soon. The trick is to not go from one job to another, where things will be pretty much the same. But rather put your efforts into starting your own small business on the side. Build it up over a couple years, and eventually you can start out the door, and you become the boss instead.
    And if that business grows to a point where you have employees working for you, remember the thoughts you have right now about the management in your company, and if you don’t do things differently, your employees will be thinking of you what you think of your company’s management right now.

  4. Funny, no stats given for us over-40 workers (I’m in my 50s). I work in the technical field but with state budget cuts, etc. (I work for a school district), a lot of us techs may be unemployed after this next school year. We’re already taking a pay cut (and I make less than I did back in 1995 before the cut) and gee, management still isn’t touched by this since they don’t have to pay for health in$urance, cell phones, etc. to begin with.

    Even though I’ve got almost 20 years of just tech/tech cusomer service experience, I can’t compete against the 20 somethings who are out there, and my district is helping to train them on my tax dollars!

    Am I scared – YES! I may find another job at around $8 an hour (if I’m lucky) plus a really nasty and expen$ive commute, etc. I’m only pulling a bit over $12/hour now but I was out of work for almost 18 months six years ago and as the cliche goes, any port in a storm. I even thought about being a teacher until I saw all the abuse they put up with – no thanks – they are often times SO underappreciated and abused by parents, legal organizations, administratiors, state governing bodies, etc. It’s not like the old days when you could teach and the children were held accountable – now it’s all the teachers fault – sorry, I digress from the subject at hand.

    If anyone tries to say that age discimination is a falsehood – they’re either ignorant or lying.

    However, I know myself quite well and to have my own business would be financial suicide – some folks have that ability (my dad did) but I don’t. I believe it is better to know myself and what works and doesn’t that to blindly risk it all.

  5. I hope this article is right because that is exactly the position I am in now. I have been with my company for 3 years now and this summer we started expanding. In my three years there I have noticed a couple of things:
    1) FAVORITISM – my boss absolutely favors some of his staff over others. Some of my co-workers even yell at my boss so the rest of the office can hear him, but they are still the ones he tries to please. I would think it is mainly so they won’t pitch a fit.
    2) THE MORE THINGS CHANGE THE MORE THEY STAY THE SAME – My boss will never change. Even when we identify areas that need to change he is still so top line oriented that he doesn’t even care that he is breaking his own rules trying to make the sale. He doesn’t like when inventory is incorrect, but won’t enforce the rules that say you have to sign inventory out, ect.
    3) HE’S NOT GOOD WITH DETAILS – He has these ideas of what he wants for the business, but when it comes to execution he just isn’t very good. Nobody working at the business is doing what they were hired to do and it is causing a problem with the staff. The info he gave me, which is why I took the job is not something he can even deliver. In fact, many of the employees, including myself, are looking to leave if things don’t change.

    So, I am definitely looking to leave, but I am just worried because as I said other employees are feeling the same and I don’t know how well it will work if everyone is doing it at the same time. Any advise anyone?

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