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Vice President, Office of Innovation
I work with the various business units of KellyOCG to help architect solutions for clients with global expansion plans. Translation: I help clients cut through the workforce challenges arising from rapid globalization. I also spend a good deal of time on thought leadership activities, whether that’s an opening keynote for a SHRM State Conference, a guest lecture at a university in Asia, or a workshop on globalisation for a roomful of Indians. I also author white papers on current issues affecting HR professionals. Previously based in Singapore, I now camp out at our World Headquarters in Detroit (Troy), Michigan, USA. Before this role, I was head of international HR for Kelly. I've spent the last 19 years of my career focused on cross-border HR.
Changing jobs doesn’t necessarily improve total happiness, and our research confirms it. In fact, only 48 percent of workers who changed employers in the last year are happy in their new role. This figure is lifted by a high rate of new-job satisfaction in APAC.
The high level of satisfaction among job changers in APAC is likely driven by the prosperous economies of Australia and New Zealand. Perceiving the greater economic stability in these countries, employees are leaving jobs they may have been unhappy with during the global downturn to find a wealth of more attractive and lucrative roles available to them.
Of those that changed roles in the past year, Generation Y workers are the happiest with the switch. Generation X and Baby Boomer employees are less happy with their employment changes.
This probably reflects generational differences in eagerness for career advancement—younger employees are more motivated by advancement than their older, more experienced colleagues. Those that have changed are more likely to perceive the shift as a progression, even if they’ve yet to settle into their new roles.
Commitment and loyalty takes a dive
Commitment and loyalty levels are low globally, but taking individual employees’ ambitions into account can help change that.
The employment instability of the global economic crisis heavily undermined employee loyalty, but the 2013 Kelly Global Workforce Index shows that many businesses are still winning people back. More than one quarter of employees felt more loyal towards their employers than last year.
Loyalty trends correlate roughly with those of employee satisfaction—loyalty is highest in APAC and lowest in EMEA, with the Americas sitting somewhere in between.
However, employees also show low levels of commitment to their current roles. In the Americas, four in 10 employees report being totally committed to their current role. Even though these workers are a minority, this is a positive result by global standards. Workers in this region are among the most engaged in the world, especially when compared with levels of total commitment in APAC or EMEA.
What drives people to choose a job
To understand these globally low levels of employee commitment and loyalty, employers need to appreciate what drives people to choose a job in the first place. Factors that influence job choice vary depending on the employee’s age, yet the 2013 Kelly Global Workforce Index reveals some factors that matter to all employees regardless of where they’re at in life.
Most employees value the personal fulfillment offered by a role above opportunities for advancement or remuneration. This is particularly true among Baby Boomer employees. These workers also value compensation and benefits more than other generations, and prioritize it over personal growth and advancement. This makes sense given the Baby Boomers’ experience and typically higher levels of financial responsibility.
Personal fulfillment is a major priority for Generation X workers. Following this, Generation X places almost equal weight on advancement and compensation. Generation Y workers value advancement above compensation, but only slightly, which implies these employees are more likely to sacrifice personal fulfillment for an opportunity to advance another rung on the career ladder.
For more on employee satisfaction and retention, including regional data, see the full report here: Why Workers Are Leaving and What You Can Do About It