Take This Job & Shove It! (Says 54% Of You)


I Quit Note

As soon as times get better (2010, 2011 or beyond) more than half of American workers say they plan to job jump. That’s according to Adecco Group’s latest Workplace Survey. And it’s the younger workforce who is the most adamant about it. Here’s just a few other savory facts that indicate turnover amongst younger workers will skyrocket when the economy improves.

Resignations: More than half (54%) of employed Americans report that they are likely to look for new jobs once the economy turns around. Be ready for a lot of suspiciously long lunch breaks, and the occasional dentist appointment that requires a suit and tie.

Goodbye, Generation Y: Your youngest employees (who bring a lot of new ideas and skills to the table), are knocking on your competitor’s door. 71% of those between 18-29 are likely to look for new jobs once the upturn begins.

Generation Y Won’t Budge: Only 9% (less than 1 in 10) of Generation Y is willing to accept a pay cut to keep their jobs compared to 1 in 5 workers from the other generations (Baby Boomers, Gen X, Silent).

So, with that many workers claiming to want to move on, it begs the question, “What can be done to change your mind?” Is there anything an employer can do to get people to want to stay when things improve, or is the damage done?

I have my suspicions as to what your answers will be. (Our site’s tagline “Because EVERY Job is Temporary” doesn’t just apply to one side of the employment equation, now does it?)

And yet, turnover hurts businesses BIG TIME. On average, it costs a company 130% of an employee’s salary to replace them. That number goes up if the employee leaving has significant company knowledge or possesses a unique and/or rare skill set. So, even saving a few potential job jumpers from making the move can have a serious financial impact.

Share your thoughts below. What will management teams need to do to keep you from moving on when the recession is over?


J.T. O'Donnell

Job Search & Career Expert. Syndicated Speaker & Author. Wife. Mother. CEO of CAREEREALISM Media. Connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.


  1. While I have to agree with Doug, I would like to add that the lack of leadership, vision, and service leadership. Managers are “leading” with an attitude of self-power and self-importance.

  2. One other thing to keep in mind regarding Gen-Y'ers…creating a culture where they feel needed and respected will give you unfathomable loyalty. People may bag on them for wanting something bigger or better, but they come from more of an instant gratification upbringing than Boomers or X'ers. You can't fault them for being who they are, and it's our job as recruiters/ employers to give them the warm fuzzies they need. The constant job hopping isn't the result of being a bad employee and it's taken me a long time to wrap my head around that. Sure, Y's may be more likely to bail on a tough boss or monotonous duties, but isn't it our jobs to create a dynamic workplace where our people can grow and thrive? I'd rather harness enthusiasm and let it spread throughout the organization – and retain great minds in the process – than try to dampen it by playing the overlord card on a group of people that don't respect that environment.

    I have a lot more thoughts on this but I'm not sure this is the right forum for it.

    • Hi Jack, I think this is a great forum for what you are discussing. I've been working with corporations on the best way to engage and retain Gen Y for the last several years and I feel as you do. It is our job to create dynamic workplaces where people can grow. Why? Because we reap incredible rewards when we do.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I love when people like yourself share how they've wrapped their heads around this shift in employership. I'm so grateful you stopped by to comment!

  3. This indicates the huge gap in managerial understanding of Millennial's/Gen-Y's needs and expectations. The average millennial has held 9 jobs in their lifetime. I'm currently at #6 – and this is a company I've started myself. I'd be very surprised if I hit #7 anytime soon.

    Millennials have always had a rabid need for work-life balance. With the economy the way it is, and businesses stupidly squeezing budgets instead of looking for every opportunity to expand projects and grab market share, employees are forced to take on more and more tasks or face the axe.

    In general, we're very hard-working, dedicated people, but if you 1) don't trust us, 2) limit our ability to share ideas, or 3) show disrespect, we're going to bail ASAP.

    When you cull your workforce down to only the most efficient, least-question-asking-crowd, you ultimately lose vision and creativity. Not to mention the brain drain that occurs when the 71% actually flee their posts.

    Encourage millennials to stay by increasing trust, allowing them to modify their working schedule, showing them respect and encouragement, and not treating them like just another cog in the machine.

    -Nick Armstrong

    • There is an incredible gap in managerial understanding Nick. I get so frustrated when people tell me generational differences don't exist in the workplace and that it's been 'over-discussed.' Surveys like this proves just how much farther we have to go in bridging the gap.

      Thanks for sharing the passion and vision behind Gen Y's decision to job jump. I hope managers are reading this and internalizing that this is a serious issue. It's short-sighted of management teams not to recognize that when things start to look up, people will start to look out.

  4. Great post!

    In my experience, there's nothing more frustrating than feeling trapped and powerless. I suspect many employees feel this way right now. I believe that an employee's behavior after this is all over will be a referendum on company behavior during the recession, particularly if layoffs were conducted in a less-than-tasteful manner. We'll see massive jumps. I'd love to say that this recession was a wake up call that made management and employees less mercenary in our respective attitudes, but I suspect that as the balance of power shifts talent, will look for the greener grass…or at least different grass. People tend to abuse a buyer's market when it's on their side, setting us up for similar treatment when the tide invariably turns.

    • Thanks for sharing, Doug! I love the point you make about the shift in power. As I see it, that is the root of the problem. Employers AND employees want the power. It's like Dems and Reps in politics. I wonder if we will ever see the relationship between the two be more focused on win-win? Both sides need to be ready to commit more of themselves if they want better returns…and yet, is that even reasonable when the rate of change in business is so drastic?

      You've got me thinking of another post already…

  5. Great question, Jed.

    I'm hoping some HR folks will chime in on today's post and share their thoughts. In the meantime, let me share my own experience with the 'lillypad effect.'

    Americans have been taught that in career, you only go up the ladder. In other words, as they grow in salary, title etc. – they assume this will always be the case. And when they don't, they feel either A) like a failure, or B) slighted.

    So, when something like a recession comes along, deep down, they harbor these feelings until things improve. The idea being that they'll be able to fix the blip on their upward decent and feel better about themselves.

    Please know I”m not discounting the very thing that made this country great – drive and ambition. However, it comes with 'negative side effects' in times like these. To keep those people from jumping, I actually teach companies to do two things:

    1) Identify the keepers NOW, and make sure they understand what milestones the company will need to hit for the to be rewarded properly.

    2) Find ways to not just make the workplace feel better – show your employees that it is better compared to other places. Management often forgets that their employees are their customers. Which means, they have to keep proving their value to them to keep them satisfied.

  6. I'm wondering – how long on average have these people been in the jobs they have now? Do they think that as the economy improves they will have a better chance of a higher starting salary/more benefits? Or is there another reason for the move? If people feel like they have been forced into a job they do not enjoy as a result of the economy (perhaps in a field they do not like), then I doubt there is much management can do. On the other hand, if people feel as if they can do better materially elsewhere (or some other aspect of the work environment is contributing to their unhappiness), then logic dictates that management should ask their employees for feedback and take steps to improve the highlighted areas.

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