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84 per cent of surveyed employees actively seeking employment while still employed


Over half (57 per cent) of employees recently surveyed said they were considering leaving their current jobs. More worrisome: 84 per cent of them are actively seeking employment while still employed, although only a minority (43 per cent) admitted that this had any effect on how they were performing the current job.

These findings were uncovered in a recent Canada-wide survey conducted by David Aplin Recruiting, which also revealed that the top motivators behind voluntary employee turnover are insufficent pay and lack of trust in senior leaders.  

When employees were asked to indicate the five factors that would cause them to start thinking seriously about leaving their organization, the top five answers were:

  1. Insufficient pay
  2. Lack of trust in senior leaders
  3. Lack of work-life balance
  4. Unhealthy/undesirable culture
  5. Uninteresting or unchallenging work

Not surprisingly, 73 per cent of employees surveyed agreed with the statement “People leave managers not organizations.” But, when asked if a higher salary or pay raise increase their tolerance of the undesirable aspects of their jobs, only 51 per cent said “yes”, compared to the 49 per cent who disagreed.

However, when managers of people and HR professionals were asked to fill out a similar survey, they seemed to be unaware or concerned about voluntary employee turnover. Some 54 per cent of those surveyed felt either that it wasn’t a disruptive problem, or not really a problem at all. The brave 46 per cent who indicated that voluntary turnover is a problem for their organizations noted problems range from retaining their most valued employees to an out-of-control problem with extremely adverse impact on business objectives.  

Interestingly, the majority of managers and HR professionals felt employees were motivated to leave more by the attraction or availability of an outside opportunity than by their dissatisfaction or desire to leave (47 per cent), or that employees were equally motivated by their dissatisfaction or desire to leave and the attraction or availability of an outside opportunity (36 per cent). Only 17 per cent were ready to acknowledge that employees could be simply dissatisfied with their current job or managers.  

The factors that managers considered to be the greatest contributors to voluntary employee turnover in their organizations were:

  1. Insufficient pay
  2. Lack of work-life balance
  3. Unexpected job/career opportunity
  4. Excessive workload
  5. Lack of opportunity for training and development

“There is pent up demand among Canada’s workforce for new opportunities and changes in their professional lives“, says Jeff Aplin, chief operating officer of David Aplin Recruiting. “The winds of change are blowing for employers right now. This survey confirms that many people who have been dissatisfied with their current employment through the recession are now disengaging from their current organization and thinking more seriously about making a move.”

However, Aplin sees opportunities for managers to respond by taking an honest look at what they can do to influence retention of their most valued people. “Leaders can control the ‘push’ factors of why people leave. If managers build trust with their people, are honest and sincere in showing leadership, and ultimately add value, then they will limit the door opening for the over 57 per cent of employees at risk of leaving.”

Correspondingly, for employers looking to attract new employees, the top five things employees are looking for today are:

  1. New challenges, variety of interesting projects
  2. Advancement opportunities
  3. Meaningful work opportunities to make a difference
  4. Performance-based bonuses, salary increases
  5. Recognition, feedback

Click here to view the Employee Survey Results.

Click here to view the Manager/HR Professionals Survey Results.

For more information about David Aplin Recruiting, visit

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